Maximize Savings Strategy for 2014

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Here is a cool trick to try and maximize savings for 2014. If you use Mint or USAA you can look at your spending trends for the past year. Other banks may do this as well and there are also other sites similar to that track your spending but these are what I use. Find the spending trends graph and you can see how much you spent in each category such as “shopping”, “food”, and “utilities”. You should be able to then click on the specific transactions for each category and also filter by the merchant. Use this tool to then find where you spent the majority of your money such as Wal-Mart or the PX/Commissary. Now you can predict where and how much you will spend next year. This can be really valuable information. Because now you can prepare a strategy to save money at these places. Spending $400 a month on groceries equals $4800 in a year. Saving 5% on that $4800 saves you $240 a year. If you spent a total of $30,000 a year and you were able to save at least 5% on everything you paid for then you can save $1500. Here are a few strategies I use:

Cash Back Reward Cards:

  • Sallie Mae – 5% back on groceries/gas/books
  • US Bank – 5% on categories you choose each quarter
  • PenFed – 5% back on gas
  • Chase Freedom – 5% in rotating categories
  • Amex Blue Cash – 6% on groceries / 3% gas
  • Discover It – 5% in rotating categories.

Discount Gift Cards:

Cash-Back Rebate Sites:


Reward Debit Cards:

Auto Saving:

  • SmartyPig – Targeted savings with the bonus from retailers
  • USAA multiple accounts with nicknames.

Flash Sale / Daily Deals Sites – Make a list of what you want/need and wait for them to show up on these sites.:

Used Sales:

Timed Purchases:

  • Christmas Deco in January
  • Halloween in November
  • Winter Gear in spring
  • Summer Gear in fall