Budgeting can (and should) be a big-picture discussion, focusing on major expenditures and long-term financial planning. However, these big-picture financial plans can’t exist with a focus on the smaller-level details that dictate where our money goes on a monthly and even weekly basis. Finding ways to reduce your spending by just $20 a week adds up to $1,040 over the course of a year, which is no small addition to your budget – or your rainy day savings account. Here are just a few ideas that can help you pare back that spending and help your savings instead.

Use the right fuel for your car

Whenever you’re filling up at the pump, you surely look at the different octane levels, from Regular to Premium. For those of us who care about the well-being and performance of our source of transportation, it’s easy to see those numbers and assume “bigger is better,” right? We’ve all heard stories about how filling up with Premium makes your car “run better,” but did you know that this isn’t necessarily the case? 

While it’s true that many car engines do require Premium fuel to protect high-tech components, if your car doesn’t explicitly say it requires Premium, you aren’t hurting it by filling up with Regular–just ask AAA. And with Premium commanding as much as a $0.50 higher price per gallon, that means that filling up with regular even once or twice per week can save you a not-insignificant sum of money.

Audit your subscriptions

Just about everything is a subscription service nowadays, and if you haven’t taken a close look at how all these subscriptions are adding up, you could be paying way more than you expect. It’s not just media services like Netflix and Spotify, too–do you know that Microsoft Office is now a subscription? Or do you remember signing up to give that great writer $10/month on Patreon? Or maybe you let a free trial lapse and are now automatically paying those monthly payments for something you don’t even use? 

What if you’re trying to cut back, but you really like all the stuff you’re subscribed to? A subscription audit doesn’t have to just mean figuring out what to cut out of your life–it can mean looking into alternate ways to save money. Do you have a roommate you can share a Netflix account with? Have you bundled Disney+ and Hulu to get a reduced monthly cost? Have you and your significant other taken advantage of Spotify Premium Duo to keep your two unique accounts, but only pay once? How are you watching sports during football season? It’s time to take a deep dive and make sure you’ve got your subscriptions under control. 

Buy organic – or not

For most of us, we assume that “buying organic” is a binary decision–either you believe it’s worth it to buy organic food and you spend the extra money to do so, or you don’t think it matters so you save money by purchasing non-organic foods. If you’re an organic foodie but you’re looking to save money, consider dropping that binary perception and looking into what foods are really worth the splurge–and skipping the rest. 

According to Consumer Reports, buying organic for fruits and veggies (particularly those with thin skins or that grow above-ground and have direct contact with pesticides) can be a prudent health decision, but some other foods–especially seafood and shellfish which have no USDA standards for organic labeling–aren’t worth the extra cost. Buying organic can be great for your health when you focus on the proper ingredients, but if they aren’t benefiting you, skip the organics and pocket the savings for financial health instead.

Spotloan: A smarter way to borrow

Hopefully these suggestions give you some ideas on how to save $20 a week – if they do, don’t forget that the operative word here is save. If you just take that saved money and start spending it elsewhere, that’s not necessarily helping your long-term financial plans. Make sure that you take that $20 and stick it into a savings account or investment account, because every little bit that goes to your nest egg makes you breathe a little easier moving forward. 

At Spotloan, we’re not just a lender–financial education is one of our most deeply held values, which is why we offer resources to help you learn about saving, financial responsibility, and the best ways to set and achieve your financial goals. And if those financial goals do require a loan, our simple online application process can help you qualify for the money you need, even if you have bad credit or need a same-day loan. All you have to do is go fill out our application to see if you qualify, and you could receive a decision within minutes. Fill out our application now!