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7 summertime saving tips for a cash-free era

Mother, father, and two daughters smiling and standing on a soccer field

Saving tips and hints tend to assume you’re carrying cash. But it’s common to pay with a phone at checkout and shop at stores that prefer debit and credit cards. That doesn’t mean you can’t do some serious saving this summer.

If you’re ready to save money, here are some practical strategies for getting started in this cash-free era.

Tip 1: Set a summer savings goal

The first step is to get inspired by saving for something specific. Do you want to splurge on a weekend getaway or be ready for back-to-school shopping? Perhaps you have decided that it’s time to build up your emergency fund or save for a new car. Hold yourself accountable by writing down your goal—or search online for a goal-setting app.

Tip 2: Pay yourself first

Planning to save after you’ve paid the bills is a common approach, but Labor Day could arrive before you actually find the money to do that. Instead, build your savings account by paying yourself first.

Determine an amount and ask your employer to deposit a portion of your paycheck directly into a savings account. If you want to take this method a few steps further, consider BalanceWorks®, a tool from Thrivent Credit Union that helps you divide your monthly income into categories that align with your budgeting priorities.

Tip 3: Find a savings app that works for you

There are a lot of apps that offer to do the saving for you by linking your checking account with a savings account and automatically transferring small amounts at designated times. Be aware that many of those apps charge a monthly fee, so be sure to read the fine print. You may decide to keep it simple and use your mobile banking app, which likely doesn’t charge a fee to transfer among accounts.

Tip 4: Save money by avoiding fees

If your summertime schedule affects routines you have for paying bills, automating the process with these action steps could save you money:

  • Request to change due dates on your bills to correspond with payday.
  • Set up autopay on monthly bills—especially credit cards—to avoid late fees and penalties.
  • Create calendar reminders to alert you when bills are due.
  • Set text alerts on your bank account to avoid fees for dropping below a minimum balance, etc.

Tip 5: Use apps that make discounts and deals easy to find

Pick your favorite way to save and find an app to help you do it. Do you want to save money on gas? Clip more coupons? Earn free food or beverages at coffee shops and restaurants? Retailers offer discounts and deals on their apps too. Search for apps that offer rewards, and then put the savings toward your summer goal.

Tip 6: Squeeze in extra saving with a round-up tool

What’s an easy way to grow your savings without dropping coins in a change jar? You can save by using a credit or debit card that rounds up whenever you make a purchase and then puts the difference in your savings account.

For example, if you spend $6.37 for a snack at the convenience store, the card automatically rounds up to $7 and sends 63 cents to your savings account. Thrivent Credit Union also offers this perk when you use the debit card linked to your account.

Tip 7: Make moving money to savings easy

Most banks and credit unions offer online and mobile options that streamline the process of transferring funds. So, as you make smart day-to-day choices, you can move the money into your savings account easily.

Let’s say you choose water versus paying for a beverage at the beach ($3). Then you use a gas coupon when filling up the tank to save 10 cents per gallon ($0.10 x 18 = $1.80). Maybe you canceled a streaming service you won’t need this summer ($15). That’s $19.80 you could transfer from a spending account to savings with a few taps on the banking app.

For some people, saving money becomes a game to “win.” For others, saving can be more of a job with a clock to punch. Either way, your success could depend on how you set your mind to accomplish the goal. This summer, finding a way that works for you could be money in the bank.

Deposit and lending services are offered by Thrivent Credit Union, the marketing name for Thrivent Federal Credit Union, a member-owned not-for-profit financial cooperative that is federally insured by the National Credit Union Administration and doing business in accordance with the Federal Fair Lending Laws. Insurance, securities, investment advisory and trust and investment management accounts and services offered by Thrivent, the marketing name for Thrivent Financial for Lutherans, or its affiliates are not deposits or obligations of Thrivent Federal Credit Union, are not guaranteed by Thrivent Federal Credit Union or any bank, are not insured by the NCUA, FDIC or any other federal government agency, and involve investment risk, including possible loss of the principal amount invested.

Must qualify for membership in TCU.