We also asked our (now-favorite) financial experts for some money-saving tips they recommend.
Here's their advice:
"Download phone apps that alert you to discounts, such as RetailMeNot or Target's Cartwheel app. Immediately transfer the money you saved on your purchase to your savings account. Setting up an automatic draft from your bank account to your savings account will help build your emergency fund and reduce the need to use debt to pay for unexpected expenses." — Lazetta Rainey Braxton, registered investment adviser and founder/CEO of financial planning firm Financial Fountains
"Take advantage of coupons. I buy the Sunday paper specifically for that reason. If the coupon matches up with items that I'm going to buy anyway why pass it up? Coupons can easily translate into hundreds of dollars a year in saving without qualifying for a television show. Sign up for things like Amazon Local. You have to put up with the emails but the savings can be worth it!" — Lee Baker, certified financial planner at Apex Financial Services Inc.
"One of the biggest money-saving tips most people overlook but would benefit them greatly is to increase savings when getting a raise." — Ted Smith, CRPC at UBS Financial Services Inc. of Baltimore
"1. Pay yourself first
2. Put your savings and investment plan on "Auto Pilot," automatically having 10 percent of your pay going into a savings/retirement plan.
3. Start early. It doesn't matter how little you can save, get into the habit of saving as early as possible.
4. Avoid credit card debt
5. Start an investment plan. Speak with a financial adviser and find out what is the best way for you to grow wealth over long periods of time." — Jonathan Murray, managing director of wealth management at UBS in Hunt Valley
"Pay yourself first!. This applies to retirement savings. I also encourage my clients to set up three "funds":
One, the standard catastrophic contingency fund.
The second, a "Club" account in which they save for future known major purchases that would be hard to pay for out of a pay check or two. Ex: replacement cars, major vacations, paying off college debt, insurance premiums and even mortgage/rent payments. I would have funds deposited into this account directly from a paycheck. And where possible have the bills automatically paid. This ensures that you have the funds for the major priorities in life.
The third, a "life (or s---) happens fund." This is for the unknowns that you know will pop up every year. You do not know if it will be a new set of tires, a new furnace, or a major medical bill. It could also be positive – an invitation to a friend's destination wedding. I do not know which of these my clients will face this year, but I do know it will be something and that if they do not save regularly for it and have a "life happens fund" they will find themselves falling a little more behind each year." — Barry Korb, registered financial adviser, Lighthouse Financial Planning, LLC in Potomac
"Some of the recommendations we make to consumers for easy-to-follow money saving tips would be:
1. Reducing the number of trips you make to the grocery store which will prevent you from buying items that you would not have purchased but did just because you were there again.
2. Shop around for your car insurance as you may be able to save by getting additional quotes
3. Consider reducing the additional options on your cell phone — maybe you really don't need to access your email from your phone?
4. Packing lunch instead of buying lunch
5. Bringing coffee instead of buying a coffee
Most important tip is start by setting aside something. It's really easy to spend all that you have and make excuses for not having anything left over to save. If your pay is direct deposit to your checking then a really easy way to save is having a portion of that money sent to a savings account." — Nina Heck, director of counseling and client relations of CCCS of Maryland and Delaware.
"Stop paying for things you don't use or overpaying for things you don't have to.
Most of us pay for some kind of monthly subscription – be it a gym membership, a mobile app, or a premium cable channel – that we don't use all that much, but it's a pain to call and cancel, so we just keep paying it.
Likewise, if you're paying maintenance fees for a checking account, transaction fees on a prepaid card, or high interest rates on a credit card, you're likely throwing money away.
Free checking accounts with free debit cards are out there. Credit card companies will lower your APR if you bug them persistently. A couple hours work can save you hundreds a year." — Dan Weliver, editor, moneyunder30.com
"Automate your savings and track your spending. Select a amount that you would like to save and break it down to a weekly or bi-weekly amount and set it up to transfer to your savings account automatically! Tracking your spending is key, as it will keep you aware of where your money is actually going throughout the month." — Dominique Broadway, CEO and personal finance coach of D.C.-based dominiquebroadway.com
"Always have a purpose for your money! Know when, how and why you spend your money the way you do. If, for example, you have 10 dollars in your pocket, ask yourself, "What is the purpose of this 10 dollars?"
By not having a specific purpose for your money often results in the "where did all my money go?" syndrome. It is also recommended that every time you get paid, try to put at least 10 percent in savings. If this is not feasible, determine the appropriate amount that works best for you." — Mary Fortier, student financial services manager at Towson University