Everything from interest rates to groceries has gone up in price, and a life that was once affordable may seem difficult to manage now. Especially if you’re suddenly living paycheck to paycheck, it may seem tempting to stop taking money out of your paycheck to put into savings, as you need that money now. You’ll worry about later…later, right? Our experts say differently. It’s still important to save for the future, even if you’re just getting by in the present. Who knows what the future will bring financially, and you want to be prepared. But if your monthly payments feel like a burden to manage, how can you still give up some of that money and put it into savings? Not to worry–our experts have some strategies for how you can save money, even when everything is expensive.

1. Cut Where You Can

We already established that you are not cutting the amount of money you put into savings–you should always pay yourself first when you get your paycheck. However, there may be other areas of spending you can cut back on, even if just temporarily. An easy area would be streaming services. Over the years, you may have collected several subscriptions to streaming services that you don’t use as frequently as you once did. Or, perhaps you can subscribe one at a time, canceling one and subscribing to another each month so that you’re only paying for one streaming service at a time. You can always catch up on what you missed whenever you resubscribe to a platform later.

Another area to cut back on is unnecessary spending. Try to make home cooked meals instead of eating out. Those meals don’t have to be fancy with expensive ingredients. Check out the coupons for your local grocery stores and make recipes based on what fits into your budget. When clothing shopping, think about if you really need that new sweater or if you can do without it for now. It’s fun to shop for new clothes or books or other items, but really ask yourself if the money you would have spent on it is better spent elsewhere.

When money is tight, you may not be able to spend on things you normally would have felt comfortable spending on. Remember that this is not forever; it’s only until you find yourself in a more comfortable financial situation.

2. Create a Realistic Budget

It’s easy to say, “make a budget,” but your budget has to be realistic for your needs and lifestyle. Like exercising or dieting, a budget will only work if you’re actually going to stick with it. If you make it too strict or too restrictive, it can easily backfire. Make a list of the money you have coming in, your regular monthly expenses (including money you regularly take out for savings), and slowly add in any other expenses you feel you need to maintain your lifestyle. This list can be amended and updated as needed. From there, you can allot any leftover money to that list of “other expenses” in order to remain in control of how much you spend each month. Think of your budget as fluid, something you can change over time as your needs or expenses change.

Another way to budget is to give every dollar that comes in a purpose. Is it going to your mortgage or rent? Groceries? Insurance? Savings? Clothing? Doing so allows you to control just how much you spend in each area and make sure you are not overspending on one thing without leaving enough for something else. A big part of budgeting is not restricting overall spending but in being conscious of how much money you allocate for each expense.

3. Utilize a High-Yield Savings Account

When you put money into savings, it’s important that at least some of that money is growing in some way, especially if you are trying to save during a time when everything is expensive. A high-yield savings account is one way to allow your money to grow without you having to do anything. That is called passive income. Finding sources for passive income is an important piece in building wealth. Even if you won’t become wealthy through a high-yield savings account, you will still walk away with more money than you put in, which is always a win.

There are other ways for your money to earn even more, such as through investments and retirement savings accounts. These are important for long-term saving. With a high-yield savings account, however, you can access the money whenever you want without penalty. That makes it a great way to earn a little bit more money that can help you today, not thirty years from now.

4. Increase Your Income

Ultimately, you may get to a point where the only way to maintain the lifestyle you would like is to increase your income. This might mean applying for a new job, but it can also mean taking on a side hustle. Think about how you can use your hobbies to make money. You’d be surprised at your options. Maybe you can tutor kids after school, sell your artwork, write freelance, or even babysit. Examine your skillset as well as any needs in your community and see which doors you can open for another income source, even if small.

We Can Help You Save Money When Everything Is Expensive

The team at DeSantis, Kiefer, Shall, & Sarcone is here to help your financial plan when things are good and when times are tough. When everything is expensive, it’s even more important to have a concrete plan in place for how to manage your money. In this way, you’ll still be able to save towards your goals while affording your monthly expenses. Our experts can help you take your money farther than you thought it could go.