9 Ways to Save Without Suffering

We all know we should save more money than we do. We either need to pay down debt, build an emergency fund, or save for retirement; perhaps even all three!  Accomplishing these goals can be tough, but perhaps not so much if you choose to save smarter, not harder. Try these handy tips to help you save, and you just might find yourself with a tidy savings balance you never thought possible.

  1. Open a high-yield Savings Account. At Radiant Credit Union, we offer many different savings accounts designed to fit your needs. By far the most popular and highest-yielding is our Even-Up Savings account. Once you open your free Radiant Even-Up savings account, every time you make a purchase with your Radiant debit card, we automatically “Even-Up” the purchase amount to the next dollar. The change is then transferred from your checking account to your Even-Up Savings Account. Even-Up Savings Accounts earn up to a 4.00% Annual Percentage Yield (APY) on balances up to $4,000.
  2. Cut back on cable. Take an honest look at your monthly television viewing habits. If you’re paying top dollar for HBO or another premium channel package, you’re probably paying mostly for movies you rarely access. For about half the price of HBO, you can subscribe to Netflix or another streaming service and get a much wider range of viewing options. You could even go with Amazon Prime and get free two-day shipping on all your purchases included with access to a hefty library of movies and other content.
  3. Use your credit card to save money. At Radiant Credit Union, our Dime Back program allows you to get paid for your purchases. For every purchase you make with a Radiant Credit Union VISA® credit card, we’ll automatically pay you a dime. These dimes are earned for each purchase with any Radiant credit card, including business cards. If you’re using a Radiant Credit Union Platinum Rewards card, the dimes are paid on top of the rewards points. That’s right, with the rewards card, you get both rewards and the automatic dimes.
  4. Time your vacations to travel for less. Summer tends to be the most popular travel time for tourist-happy destinations like Miami or New Orleans. If you’re planning a trip to a hot spot vacation destination, traveling between February and April can save you money on your reservations. Hotwire, the hotel booking site, sees an average decline of 30% at tourist locations during the offseason.
  5. Swap to an off-brand cell provider. You can cut down your cellphone bill considerably by switching away from a big-name carrier. If you’re on Sprint, AT&T or Verizon, you can save a considerable chunk by switching to a brand like Cricket, MintMobile or Straight Talk. These carriers buy time in bulk from the major companies and resell it at a discount. They don’t subsidize phones or maintain well-staffed stores, so their costs are lower. These services don’t always travel particularly well, so if you need your phone while far from home, they may not be right for you. Still, it can be hard to say no to significant savings on your phone bill.
  6. Make your Debit Card work for you. Radiant’s Nickel Back Debit Card automatically pays you 5 cents every time you use your card for a signature purchase! If you’re already a Radiant Credit Union member with a checking account and debit card, you’re automatically enrolled. There is no minimum purchase amount, and no need to enroll or forms to fill out. Nickels are automatically paid daily directly into your Radiant checking or savings account!
  7. Start reading paper books. Just as streaming services have cut the price for physical media, the popularity of e-readers has done the same thing to the price of plain, old fashioned books. This is particularly true for used books, where time-tested classic paperbacks can be had for as little as a penny. More current and popular titles can be had on eBay for under $5, compared to $10 for an eBook. Cheaper still, head over to your local library – check outs are still free! – and get your fill of new releases, old classics and great books you’ve never heard of. Most libraries also offer free check outs of movies and audio books, too!
  8. Check out Amazon Subscribe and Save. For commonly used goods, like tea and coffee, Amazon’s Subscribe and Save function can cut back on the time and money you spend shopping. If you go through a 72-count box of K-Cups every month, you can save $2 per month off your coffee bill by scheduling automatic deliveries through Amazon. A dedicated tea drinker can save $1 per month on a 160-count box of Yorkshire Gold. If you multiply these savings by a dozen or so products, this system can be your “set it and forget it” path to savings.
  9. Get started couponing! For costs you can’t avoid, like groceries, old fashioned coupons and newer online rebate apps can offer some relief. Newly released iBotta, available for iOS and Android devices, offers a list of participating retailers and a list of rebates, usually between $.25 and $1. One of the most popular is a $.25 rebate on a gallon of milk – something you’ll likely buy anyway. After you finish shopping, take a picture of your receipt with a smartphone or tablet and upload it to iBotta. They confirm your purchase and credit your rebates, along with bonuses for regular redemption, referring friends and completing other challenges. iBotta can be an easy way to knock $5 to $10 off your grocery bill.