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Please note, membership is required to open a DCU Savings. Visit our membership eligibility page for more details.

The Secret to Saving: Track Your Spending

Saving is one of those things that sounds easy to do. But in practice, it can be tricky to balance the intention of saving with the juggling of expenses. So how do you start saving more? One effective method is to track your spending. Small changes in how you spend can add up to big savings over time.

How Are You Currently Spending?

How you spend and save should all revolve around one thing: your financial goals. These goals might include paying off debt, buying a home, saving for vacation, or even just feeling financially secure. Your regular monthly bills, such as your rent or mortgage, insurance, car loan, and utilities, are all likely an essential part of making your goals a reality. You might be able to downsize your home or car, but for the most part, these are unavoidable costs that you’ll need to account for as you create a budget.

The rest of your spending is what you can change right now. When you decide to order a pizza, subscribe to a streaming service, buy a video game, get a pedicure, or spend money on almost anything optional or fun, that’s known as nonessential or discretionary spending. While some of this spending might align with your financial goals, a large portion may not. By determining where your money is going, you can dedicate more toward a savings account, helping you get closer to achieving your goals.

Go through your last few months of spending. Look at bank and credit card statements and purchase receipts. Try to organize purchases into categories to help determine how you spend your money. You might be surprised at how much money you spend on certain categories, such as restaurants or clothing.

Where Can You Cut Costs?

To maximize your ability to save, look for opportunities to cut spending. Maybe you can cancel subscriptions you barely use. Those impulse buys at the grocery store can be eliminated by sticking strictly to a shopping list. Takeout meals can be made cheaper by skipping dessert and ordering lower-end items. Make it easier to look for expenses to cut by ranking the discretionary costs in order of how much happiness they bring you, and then cut the ones at the bottom.

Spending and Saving in Daily Life

As you go forward, you can track discretionary spending with ease by exclusively using one way to pay when making such purchases. For example, if you only make discretionary purchases with one credit card, you’ll have an instant total of your discretionary spending at any given moment.

Once you’ve cut back on spending, that money can be put toward savings account contributions. Set up automatic transfers from your checking account to a savings account to help saving become a habit.

Start Saving Today

At DCU, we’re committed to helping our members save money. That's why we designed our Primary Savings account to encourage you to save money by paying one of the highest rates in the country. With our Primary Savings account you can earn 6.17% APY on daily balances up to the first $1,000. Plus, there’s no monthly fee or minimum to earn.

Please note, DCU membership is required to open a Primary Savings account. Visit our member eligibility page for more details.

This article is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to serve as legal, financial, investment or tax advice or indicate that a specific DCU product or service is right for you. For specific advice about your unique circumstances, you may wish to consult a financial professional.