5 Genius Budgeting Tips that Apartment Therapy Editors Learned in 2021

published Jan 1, 2022
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Apartment Therapy’s editors see a lot of great ideas, brilliant tips, and inspiring photos throughout the year. But which of these are the most memorable after a jam-packed 12 months? Every day this week, we’re sharing the best hacks, advice, homes, and more that we saw and heard in 2021. Check out all of our picks here!

Many factors contribute to financial well-being, but at the end of the day, it all comes down to one important practice: budgeting. Without a guardrail on your spending (and a plan for your savings), it’ll be hard to meet your financial goals. What better time than the new year to take stock of your money habits and implement new ones? 

Even if your dreams are big, the financial changes you implement don’t have to be. Focus on creating sustainable habits you can practice for the long haul, and before you know it, you’ll be well on your way to achieving your money goals. 

Want to save more and spend less in 2022? Here are five budget tips Apartment Therapy editors swore by in 2021. 

Treat your savings like a bill

So often, savings are an afterthought — you transfer over whatever’s left over from your monthly budget. Savannah West, Apartment Therapy’s assistant home editor, says she boosted her savings by changing her mindset. “As you plan out your monthly budget and bills, literally just add in one more line titled ‘Savings’ or ‘Investment fund,’” she recommends. “Every month or week, pay yourself like you pay everyone else.”

Automate your savings

Another genius way to build up your savings: Automate the process! Madeline Bilis, AT’s real estate editor, started setting up recurring transfers to her savings account to boost her rainy day fund. Many banks offer automatic transfers as a checking account feature; for example, yours might send over $1 to your savings every time you swipe your debit card. The more you know!

Open a high-yield savings account

As long as we’re talking about it, here’s another simple but powerful way to make the most of your savings: Open up a high-yield savings account like Tara Bellucci, AT’s news and culture director! While any form of savings can be a life-saver, you may as well get more out of your hard-earned money by gaining interest on it. 

Charge small payments on a credit card

If you want to buy a house or take out a car loan someday, you’ll need to start building your credit — and using a credit card is one way to do that. The problem is, mindlessly using a credit card can have the opposite effect. AT’s editorial assistant Sarah Everett suggests charging small monthly payments, like your Netflix or Spotify subscription on a credit card you know you can and will pay off each month, then setting up auto-payments. 

Re-evaluate your subscriptions 

Be honest: Have you actually used your Hulu subscription this month? Do you still need a Zoom plan that lets you hold over 40-minute meetings, now that you’re spending more time in the office? Nicoletta Richardson, AT’s entertainment editor, says regularly re-evaluating her subscriptions every few months has been a financial game-changer. “Just keep on top of what you’re really using versus what you can cancel,” she says.