How to Save Money When You Think You Can’t


Saving is an important aspect of financial wellness. Yet, it may seem like everything you earn goes towards gas, groceries and other needs, leaving nothing left over for an emergency fund or other financial goals.

You might have started going through your subscriptions, consolidating your debt, or couponing at the grocery store. These are all great ways to start saving money, but there may be more you can do for your savings plan. Follow these money-saving and budgeting tips if it feels like you’ve already spent everything on the essentials.

Set Realistic Saving Goals

Whether you don’t have enough in your savings account or you just want to have extra cash on hand, determine a goal you would like to reach within a reasonable timeframe.

Setting goals can help get you in the mindset to save and can serve as a reminder of why you’re saving. Plus, goal-setting has been proven to be an effective behavior-changing technique, meaning you’re more likely to start saving if you have a written savings goal. So, get out that pen and paper—it’s time to start writing down your goals!

Track Your Spending

A great way to start saving and understanding your finances is by tracking your spending. This could be in a budgeting app, the Centris monthly budget calculator or on classic pen and paper.

Identify your income sources and expenses to know where your money comes and goes each month. This will help you better identify potential areas for saving, such as cutting down your dining out allowance or canceling that subscription you rarely use.

Use Automatic Transfers

The best saving method is when you don’t even have to think about it. Setting up automatic transfers from your checking account to your savings account allows you to save without any extra work on your part.

You can set the transfers up to work best for you. For example, you could set up an automatic transfer for every payday so that saving becomes a priority. Keep in mind that setting up automatic transfers means you need to keep at least the amount of that transfer in your checking account to avoid any fees.

Additionally, check with your bank or credit union about a round-up program. Typically, with a round-up program, every purchase you make with your debit card will automatically round up to the next whole dollar. The round-up amount is then transferred from your checking account to your savings account. This may not seem like much but think about how often you use your debit card per week. It may surprise you how small savings from a round-up program can add up! Check out the Centris Round-Up* program to learn how you can enroll, spend and save.

Consider Refinancing

If you are eligible for a lower interest rate, refinancing your mortgage, auto loan or personal loan may be beneficial to you. A lower interest rate may lower your monthly payment, leaving you a little more cash to put into savings each month.

Refinancing does come with upfront costs and you will want to weigh the pros and cons. A lower monthly payment may allow you to start growing your savings, but the initial refinancing costs may temporarily set you back in your savings goal.

Lower Student Loan Payments

If you’re looking for the best way to save money as a college student or graduate, it may be worth looking into your current student loan repayment plan. You may already have a repayment plan with the lowest monthly payment, but an income-driven repayment (IDR) plan may be another option for you.

Income-driven repayment plans may provide a lower monthly payment because they are based on your income and family size. That means if you are a borrower and not currently on an IDR plan, you may be eligible to lower your monthly student loan payment so that you can start growing your savings.

Pay Off High-Interest Debt First

High-interest debt may be taking more of the cash you could be saving each month. By focusing on paying the higher-interest debt first using the avalanche method, you can free yourself up from those higher payments, leaving you with extra cash you could put toward your savings goals. When it comes to saving, the avalanche method is a marathon, not a sprint, so don’t get discouraged! The sooner that higher-interest debt is paid off, the more cash you may have later to build your savings.

Consolidate Your Debt

If you have multiple loans or too much credit card debt, one of the best saving techniques is debt consolidation, which can help you manage your monthly payments and save money over time.

Debt consolidation is combining your debts so that you can make one single monthly payment. By consolidating your debt, you may be able to save money on interest rates and pay off your debt sooner, allowing you to start putting your money toward your savings goals.

Keep Your Savings in a Separate Account

Putting all your savings into a regular savings account works, but it may not be the best way to keep you motivated. Consider putting your goal-specific savings aside in another account, such as a Centris Club Account, so that you can track your progress.

When you save up money in a separate account, you are less likely to spend that money, helping you stay on track for your savings goals.

There are ways to make saving possible, even if it doesn’t feel like it now. The FREE Centris Financial Wellness Center offers a variety of educational modules where you can learn all about budgeting, saving and more. Or for more personalized advice, schedule a financial counseling session through GreenPath Financial Wellness, stop into one of our 15 locations or call us at (402) 334-7000 and speak with one of our financial experts who can help put you on a savings path that’s right for you.


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*Centris Round-Up is governed by the terms and conditions stated in the Membership Agreement and Disclosures, the Truth-in-Savings Rate Schedule and the Fee Schedule. Centris reserves the right to cancel or modify Centris Round-Up at any time. Centris will give advance notice of changes if required under applicable law. Centris Round-Up does not apply to business accounts.

<a href="" target="_self">Megan Steiner</a>

Megan Steiner


Megan Steiner is a marketing specialist at Centris Federal Credit Union in Omaha, Neb. She specializes in social media strategy, content creation and writing. Megan received her Bachelor of Business Administration in marketing and Bachelor of Foreign Language and Literature in German from the University of Nebraska at Omaha. In her free time, Megan loves to learn languages and research sustainable clothing content for her personal blog.

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