10 Smart Money Moves That Help You Save Big

Key Takeaways



Free budgeting app that budgets for you

Emergency Fund

Savings account set aside for unexpected expenses

Side hustle

A secondary source of income, usually in the form of a part-time or freelance job


Being smart about money is one of the best ways to set yourself up for financial success. It's not just about saving money and spending less -- it's also about making sure you're spending your money in the right places and taking advantage of opportunities that help you save more. Here are 10 smart money moves that will help you save big:


Start an emergency fund.

An emergency fund should be at least three to six months of your income.

In other words, if you make $100,000 a year, have an emergency fund that's as big as $30,000-$50,000.

The best place for this money is in a savings account with access to your funds quickly and easily. This way, if something goes wrong and you need money fast (like car repairs or home repairs), it's available without having to wait for a paycheck to clear or for checks from relatives to come in the mail.

Another option: Investing your emergency fund in low-risk investments like certificates of deposit (CDs) or savings bonds can help grow its value even faster than simply keeping it as cash in a checking account would allow. It also gives you leverage over inflationary pressure from rising prices; CDs are FDIC-insured (meaning they're protected against bank failures), while savings bonds are backed by Uncle Sam himself!

Of course there will always be unexpected expenses—some good news: You don't need 100% of your income saved up just yet! Automate saving 50–75% of each check into the account until it reaches at least 3–6 months' worth of paychecks; then start taking out 25% every week until it hits full capacity after which point pull out only what you need each month when one arrives on time."


Get a side hustle.

For many people, a side hustle is a second job that they work in addition to their main day job. For others, it's a way to make extra money while being at home or even while doing other things.

Here are some ways you can start your own side hustle:

  • Clean houses or apartments. If you’re good at cleaning and have the time on weekends and evenings when people aren't around, this is an option for you! You could also use apps like TaskRabbit to find customers who are looking for help with cleaning projects they can't tackle themselves.
  • Babysit children of friends and family members—either in your own home or theirs (if they live close by). You may need special training if this is something new for you; check out Care.com's list of requirements from different states here.


Find someone to hold you accountable.

"Research shows that people are more likely to stick to a financial goal if they have someone else holding them accountable," says Katya Andresen of Debt.com. "That could be a friend, spouse or family member."

"The person doesn't have to be your best friend—or even someone in your family. You just need someone who cares about your future and wants to help," she says. "But it's important that this person is also someone with whom you feel comfortable being honest about money matters."


Automate your savings.

You can make automatic transfers to your savings account every month or week, depending on how much you want to save and how often you get paid. Some apps even allow you to schedule multiple transfers, so if one paycheck isn't enough to cover the bills, it will stop at the right time and then start transferring again next month when your paychecks come in.

Mooch is a free app that helps people automatically save money towards a savings goal like vacation or emergency fund. When linked with an account at Wells Fargo or Bank of America, Mooch users simply link up their paycheck to a savings envelope inside the app then paydays money is automatically rounded transferred into their chosen savings envelope.

Savings trackers are another great way to automate saving money around your life: These apps help you see where all of your extra cash goes every month so that when it comes time to set aside some cash for long-term goals like retirement or buying a home, they can give recommendations based on what they know about your spending habits—and more importantly why this money matters most!


Compare your insurance policies every year and make sure you're getting the best rates.

  • Compare your insurance policies every year and make sure you're getting the best rates. This is a smart move because you can easily save money on premiums by switching to a different provider.
  • Stay away from car insurance companies that offer discounts for good driving records, high credit scores and use of public transportation. They aren't worth it because they're not real discounts, but simply ways for insurers to dole out perks while keeping their rates high overall.
  • Don't believe those commercials where they tell you how easy it is to compare car insurance quotes online—it's still going to take some work on your part (and probably some phone calls).


Pay down debt on the highest interest rate first, starting with credit cards and then moving on to student loans, auto loans and mortgages (in that order).

The first step in your debt repayment plan is to focus on paying down the highest-interest rate debt. If you're like most people, this will be credit card debt. If you're carrying a balance on only one credit card, paying it off should be relatively easy. But if you have several cards with balances and they all have high interest rates, paying them off in order of interest rate can be more challenging—but it's still possible!

Once you've paid off your highest-interest credit cards, move on to student loans as your next priority for repayment. Student loan payments tend to come with small amounts of interest that may not seem worth worrying about (unless you're currently unemployed or underqualified for a job), but over time those small amounts add up and make a big difference when compounded over time. It's also important to note that if any money is still owed on these loans after 20 years from graduation date or 30 years from disbursement date (whichever comes first), unpaid amounts are discharged automatically by federal law (provided there has been no activity on the account during those 20/30 years). If this happens while still current on payments: very bad news!


Use credit cards responsibly by paying in full each month, using rewards points and signing up for balance transfer offers when applicable.

After getting a credit card, you should use it responsibly by paying in full each month. This will help you avoid paying interest on purchases and minimize the amount of debt you're carrying. Many people also find that using rewards points helps them save money and get more value from their credit cards.

Finally, if you have good enough credit to qualify for a balance transfer offer, this could be an opportunity to sign up for one so that you can reduce your overall interest payments on all of your major purchases. For example: Say that over the next few months, I'm going to make some big purchases like furniture and appliances for my new apartment—these are things I don't need right now (or ever). Instead of taking out a $3K personal loan at 10% interest, where would be better off making those purchases with my Chase Sapphire Reserve card which offers 0% APR on Purchases and Balance Transfers for 15 months?


Make one big purchase at a time to avoid overspending or overvaluing things that aren't worth it.

One of the biggest mistakes people make when it comes to spending money is buying things they don’t need. This can happen when we feel like an item is a good value and we want to get the most out of our dollar. But if you’re not sure if you need something, then ask yourself if there are similar items already in your home that do everything this new thing would do. If there are no duplicates or near-duplicates, think twice before making the purchase.

Another common mistake is purchasing something just because it’s on sale (or has a coupon attached). While having one less dollar sign may seem like a win for your wallet, think about whether the item is going to be worth its price tag long-term—and whether you even want it at all! For example: You may see an article of clothing on clearance at a store that seems perfect for you…but maybe even better deals are available online! Buy these clothes only when they're truly worth it and won't leave your closet as soon as their tags come off!


Don't buy something just because it's on sale or there's a coupon attached to it -- it may not be a good deal if you're spending more than you need to or buying something you don't really need or want in the first place!

  • Don't buy something just because it's on sale or there's a coupon attached to it. It may not be a good deal if you're spending more than you need to or buying something you don't really need or want in the first place!
  • Don't buy something just because it's cheap. If you're only going to use the item once, then save your money for something that will last longer and serve its purpose better
  • Don't buy something just because you're bored. This is especially true when it comes to technology: phones, tablets and computers all have short lives (usually about three years) so don't waste your hard-earned cash on things that will break quickly and require expensive repairs when they do


Saving money doesn't have to be complicated; it just requires being smart about how you handle your finances

Saving money doesn't have to be complicated; it just requires being smart about how you handle your finances. Start by determining your goals and creating a budget, then track your spending habits and pay yourself first. If possible, save money by cutting back on small expenses, shopping around for better deals, or using coupons and rewards points.



I hope these tips help make you a better saver, whether that's by helping you save more money or by keeping your spending in check. When it comes to saving for retirement or other big financial goals, the most important thing is that you start early and stay consistent with your savings plan! To get started I recommend trying a free budgeting app like Mooch that automates the tediousness of tracking and managing money yourself.


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