Our 5 Best Money-Saving Tips for Spring
February 22, 2021
Ah, spring: Fresh starts, new beginnings — with, hopefully, a few extra bucks and a little more freedom to enjoy the coming season, too. While you’re throwing open the windows and cleaning out the closets, now might also be a good time to clean up your financial house. So, before you spend another dime, check out our best money-saving tips for making this spring just a little bit “greener” all around…
1: Start by finding savings opportunities in current spending.
Believe it or not, there are likely handfuls of extra dollars hidden within your monthly spend that you can add to savings. First, list out your essential monthly expenses, like rent or mortgage, utilities, groceries, and so on. This is money that you have to spend each month.
Next, list your discretionary spending, like takeout cuisine, that thrice-weekly macchiato, cable subscriptions, etc. These are expenses that you can pare back or eliminate. Keep in mind that even small changes can add up to big savings.
Here are a few examples:
- Reducing your coffee runs from three times to just once weekly (at an average of $5 per cup) could save around $40 per month.
- According to estimates by Forbes, ordering out for dinner runs about $20 per person, a meal kit costs $12, and cooking from scratch at home averages about $4. Limiting your takeout to once per month (instead of four) can save a whopping $60 on average per person, per month.
- Automatic subscription renewals (for apps, content providers, clubs, etc.) can reduce your bank balance without your noticing, so make sure you’re not paying for something you don’t use.
2: Automate your savings with an app.
Here’s one of our favorite money-saving tips: If regularly setting aside savings is a challenge, use an app to do it for you. Three we like are Digit, Qapital, and Acorns — all available for both iOS and Android. While features vary, all of the apps securely link to your bank to make small transfers into an FDIC-insured savings account. Transfers are based on rules you set, like rounding up your transactions to the nearest dollar and transferring the extra change to savings. Since the amounts are so small, you won’t notice them, but they’ll add up over time. There are even opportunities for cash back and discounts from app partners.
Fees range from $3 to $12 per month depending on customization and perks. We suggest reviewing the fine print before signing up, and checking a respected consumer finance site like Nerdwallet.com for side-by-side app comparisons.
3: Buy consumer goods in the off-season.
Most consumer goods have both more expensive and cheaper buying seasons. If you plan ahead, you can buy during the cheaper period and save a bundle — we’re talking Black Friday levels and more. For example, the best time to get a TV is in April and May — just after the end of the Japanese business year in March when market-leading TV manufacturers like Samsung and Sony are looking to get rid of residual inventory.
It’s a similar story for refrigerators. New models are typically released in May, which is when you should hit up your local appliance dealer or superstore for a deal on last year’s models. Other spring/summer deals can be found on dish and flatware (May and June) and winter apparel. This is just the beginning, though; you can use these money-saving tips all year.
Case in point: Garden equipment like lawn mowers, patio furniture, and BBQs should be purchased in the fall (September and October) while you should always wait until after the holidays (January) to get carpet and flooring.
4: Plant a vegetable garden.
Admittedly, this one takes some planning and a bit of elbow grease, but if you’re inclined, the savings can be substantial. While savings estimates on a typical vegetable garden vary, expect to save at least $200 or so compared to buying your veg at the grocery store over a five-month growing period.
Start small — vegetables like tomatoes can be grown in containers on your balcony, in hanging baskets, or in a small corner of the backyard. Starter plants are often less than $5 and seeds cost even less. Compare that to the $2 per pound average cost of tomatoes ($4+ for organic!) at the grocery store these days and you can really see the savings add up.
If you don’t know where to start, check your local garden club or botanic garden for classes (often free) and tips, or online resources like The Old Farmer’s Almanac or industry expert Garden Gate magazine — right now you can get a FREE book full of gardening tips with a 12-month subscription.
5: Sell the clothes you would otherwise dump.
After you finish that spring closet clear out, sell your discarded clothes and accessories online. There are a handful of sites that make the process relatively easy – if you have a few hours to set up an account (usually free) and photograph your items. We like Kidizen for kids’ clothes and Tradesy for easy use, but all of the sites mentioned by Good Housekeeping in this article are worth checking out. For even quicker sales with less time investment, you can also use Craigslist, though expect to get less per item on this classic bargain-hunting site.
Finally, one of our favorite money-saving tips is shopping at a great deal site — like Grand Giraffe. Explore our broad range of categories for top savings on everything from beauty products, to food & wine, home décor, to travel, and more. Happy savings!