Get Financially Fit in 2024 With Our Earning and Savings Guide

Ready to take control of your finances this year? Our guide offers a wealth of tips and strategies to help you budget wisely, save more, and earn extra cash.

Get Financially Fit in 2024 With Our Earning and Savings Guide

If you're anything like the nearly 80% of Americans living paycheck to paycheck, the thought of getting your finances in order in 2024 seems pretty daunting. But have no fear – this post is here to help you take control of your money situation, even with the possibility of a recession.

Here's the deal: proper budgeting, smart savings strategies, and a few extra income streams can go a long way in recession-proofing your finances. With some practical tips, a little discipline, and focusing your funds on what matters most, you can set yourself up for financial fitness in the coming year.

So, ditch the doom and gloom mindset! By the end of this post, you'll have a solid plan to crush your money goals and become more financially fit this year.

budgeting tips 2024

Budgeting Basics: Take Control of Your Cash Flow

When it comes to managing your money, budgeting is crucial. But don't worry – you don't need to be an Excel pro to make a budget that works!

Keep it Simple With the 50/30/20 Guidelines

One easy budgeting framework to follow is the 50/30/20 rule. Here's the gist:

50% of your after-tax income covers needs (housing, utilities, groceries)

30% goes toward wants (dining out, hobbies, vacations)

20% goes to savings and debt repayment

This splits your spending into essentials, fun stuff, and future-focused goals. Adjust the percentages to fit your lifestyle. The key here is allocating money to each bucket.

Know Where Your Money Is Going

To budget effectively, you need to know exactly where your dough is going every month. For 1-2 months, use a spending tracker or an app like Mint to capture all your expenses. This spending snapshot will reveal problem areas to target and help divide future income appropriately.

See Your Budget Visually With a Calendar

Once you've tracked your spending, create a monthly budget calendar to visualize your cash flow. List your expected income at the top. Then, break expenses into weekly or monthly line items in each calendar box.

This lets you see at a glance when big bills hit and how much you have free each week after essentials. Aim to reach your ideal percentage allocations.

Adjust amounts if needed to make the math work. Review and update the calendar regularly to stay on track. Seeing your budget this way makes it feel much more approachable and less scary!

Make it a Habit

Check your budget weekly or every time you get paid. Having a set routine makes you more likely to stick with it. And don't beat yourself up over slip-ups! Just get back on track the next day or week.

Over time, keeping a budget will feel more natural. And you'll have way more control over your financial situation.

money saving strategies 2024

Crush Debt With the Snowball or Avalanche Methods

Carrying high-interest debt like credit cards or personal loans? Paying it off ASAP needs to be a top-money priority.

Luckily, two straightforward strategies – the debt snowball and debt avalanche methods – make becoming debt-free more manageable.

The Debt Snowball

With the debt snowball method, you'll pay minimums on all debts and put any extra money toward the smallest balance first. Once that's gone, roll that payment amount into the next smallest debt.

This creates a snowball effect, with your payment snowball getting bigger and bigger as balances disappear. The small, quick wins help keep you motivated.

The Debt Avalanche

The debt avalanche method prioritizes paying extra on the debt with the highest interest rate first. This saves the most money on interest over time.

Once the high-rate debt is gone, move to the next highest and keep going until you're debt-free!

Both methods work – pick the one that resonates most with your personality and financial situation. The key is sticking with it. You've got this!

Slash Monthly Expenses Through Negotiation

One powerful money move is negotiating your recurring bills and fees, from utilities and internet to gym memberships and insurance rates. Companies often have wiggle room to offer discounts or match competitor pricing.

It takes a little effort, but just one call can lead to meaningful monthly savings! Just follow these steps to get started.

👀 Do your research. See what current promos competitors are offering and what the going rate is for new customers. Use this intel as leverage.

☎️ Call customer service ready to cancel or downgrade. Be friendly and explain you need to cut costs. Ask if they can match a competitor's rate or offer you any discounts.

🙋‍♀️ If the first rep says no, politely ask to speak with a supervisor. Remain calm and cooperative. Multiple calls may be needed.

📚 Come prepared with numbers, competitor details, and a firm but polite stance. The worst they can say is no!

With some determination, you can negotiate cheaper cable, phone plans, gym fees, and more – those monthly savings really add up.

Money Saving Strategies: Reduce Spending and Earn Cashback

Living below your means is key to financial fitness. Luckily, there are tons of ways to slash spending and even earn a little extra at the same time!

💸 Audit your monthly bills for savings opportunities. Call service providers to negotiate rates – you can often get a discount just for asking! Cutting the cable cord and relying on free streaming can save over $100 a month.

🛠️ You can save money by doing things yourself instead of hiring a pro. Basic home maintenance like painting, landscaping, and cleaning are usually DIY-friendly. Just watch some YouTube tutorials!

📱 Take advantage of cashback apps and browser extensions. Sites like Rakuten give you cash back for online purchases. The Ibotta app lets you earn cash when buying groceries and other products at the store. And gas station apps like Upside can save you per gallon at the pump. That extra change adds up!

Save Smarter for Big Purchases

Dreaming of buying a house, taking a European vacation, or splurging on a boat? Saving up for large purchases takes strategy and discipline. Here are some tips to get you started.

💰 Open a separate high-yield savings account specifically for this goal. Seeing the balance grow keeps you motivated.

⛰️ Break the total amount needed into mini-milestones. Celebrate hitting each smaller target to stay on track.

📈 Automate transfers from each paycheck into a savings account so the cash builds without effort.

🤑 Any windfalls like tax refunds, bonuses, or gift money get deposited directly into savings.

✂️ Consider temporarily cutting discretionary spending in areas like dining out or entertainment to ramp up savings.

✈️ For big trips, open a travel-specific credit card. The sign-up bonus and rewards help offset the cost.

🌱 If the purchase timeline is 2+ years, invest a portion of the savings for growth potential. Just don't invest the money you may need in the short term.

With focus and some sacrifice upfront, you'll build savings for your important goals. The key is consistency – keep stashing cash, and you'll get there!

meal planning savings 2024

Smart Meal Planning Saves Money and Reduces Food Waste

Planning out your family's meals for the week and shopping with a grocery budget are two easy ways to save money and reduce food waste. Here are some of our favorite meal-planning tips.

🧠 Sit down on Sunday and brainstorm meal ideas for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Consider what you have on hand and leftovers to use up.

🗒️ Make a grocery list based on the meals. Check for sales and coupons to lower the costs.

🔪 Prep ingredients in advance when possible. Chop vegetables, cook rice, etc. This makes throwing meals together quicker during the week.

🫕 Cook extra portions of meals like soups, chili, and casseroles. These leftovers become easy lunches or dinners later on.

Sticking to a weekly grocery budget keeps spending on track. Here's how:

✅ Review prices and make your list before you go to the store. It should be based on what you can afford for the week. Prioritize essentials.

✅ Buy generic brands over name brands. Opt for basic staples in bulk.

✅ Shop sales and use coupons or apps for discounts to maximize savings.

✅ Avoid impulse purchases! Stick to your list.

Meal planning and a grocery budget lead to less food waste and more money savings over time. Give it a try the next time you're stocking your pantry!

Beef Up Your Retirement Savings

Retirement may seem decades away, but starting to save early is one of the smartest money moves you can make. Here are two essential retirement accounts to open now and max out contributions, if possible.


If your employer offers a 401(k) plan with matching contributions, take full advantage! At a minimum, contribute enough to get the full company match. This is free money you don't want to miss out on.

Aim to save 10-15% of your income in your 401(k). Make sure to choose good fund options with low expense ratios.


Even without a 401(k), you can open an Individual Retirement Account or IRA. Traditional IRAs give you an upfront tax break on contributions, while Roth IRAs let you withdraw money tax-free in retirement.

You can contribute up to $6,000 to an IRA if under the age of 50. An extra $1,000 catch-up contribution is allowed if 50 or older.

Automate contributions so the money goes straight into savings before you can spend it. Your future self will thank you!

reduce debt emergency fund 2024

Ways to Earn Extra Money: Side Hustles and More

When it comes to growing your income, your 9-5 job isn't the only option. By taking on side gigs and odd jobs in your spare time, you can give your bank account a healthy boost.

Driving for a rideshare app like Uber or Lyft is an easy way to turn your free hours into cash. You can drive whenever it fits your schedule – evenings, weekends, or during a long lunch break.

Selling unused items online is another great strategy. Apps like Decluttr, Poshmark, and Facebook Marketplace make it simple to post items and get paid. Take a look around your house for anything you can bear to part with.

A Fun Way to Earn From Home

And one of our personal favorites – participating in focus groups! Sites like connect everyday people like you with all kinds of market research studies that pay $50-150 for just an hour or two of your opinions.

It's an effortless way to earn extra cash from the comfort of your home. Focus groups allow you to preview new products and services, taste-test food and beverages, provide feedback on media content, and more. You get paid for sharing your thoughts!

Focus Group Pay Revealed: How Much Can You Really Earn?
If making extra money with focus groups has caught your eye, one big Q is likely on your mind: How much can you actually get paid? Well, we’re serving up the inside scoop on what focus group pay really looks like!

Give Your Input, Get Paid

The research companies use your input to help develop new marketing campaigns, product designs, brand messaging, and other business decisions. So, you get to be part of the behind-the-scenes process while padding your wallet.

An Enjoyable Side Hustle

If you enjoy sharing your opinions, focus groups are a fun, rewarding way to earn extra cash on the side. It beats other side hustles like driving for a rideshare or selling stuff online. Give it a try and watch your earnings add up!

Finding one or two income streams that work with your lifestyle is key. Even an extra $100-200 a month goes a long way in reaching your financial goals!

More Side Hustle Ideas

In addition to driving for Uber or Lyft, consider these other lucrative and flexible side gigs like the ones below.

✍️ Freelancing - Use skills like writing, graphic design, or web development on sites like Fiverr and Upwork. This lets you set your own rates and schedule.

🧑‍🏫 Tutoring - Local tutoring for subjects like math, languages, music, etc., pays well, and you set the days and times. List your services on platforms like Wyzant or local Facebook groups.

🐕 Pet sitting/dog walking - If you love animals, signing up on Rover provides an easy way to get paid for caring for pets in your neighborhood. You can set your own prices and availability.

🏡 Renting out a room - Have an extra bedroom? Renting it out on sites like Airbnb generates cash from people passing through town. You decide when the room is available.

The options are truly endless when it comes to side hustles. Find one that fits your skills and schedule – the extra income will add up quickly!

reduce debt emergency fund 2024

Avoid Financial Red Flags

When cash gets tight, payday loans or cash advances may seem like an easy fix. But watch out! These types of predatory lending often lead to a dangerous debt spiral.

Payday loans charge astronomical interest rates – often 400% APR or higher! And if you can't repay the full balance when due, the debt keeps growing through endless loan rollovers.

Before you know it, you're caught in a payday loan debt trap. We recommend steering clear of these financial red flags at all costs.

If you need fast cash, safer alternatives include:

✅ Asking your employer for an advance on your paycheck

✅ Using a credit card or borrowing from family/friends and repaying ASAP

Getting a side hustle or part-time job for extra income

✅ Seeking free financial counseling to consolidate debts and get on track

The bottom line? Avoid payday loans like the plague. The insane fees just aren't worth it. With a little creativity, you can find better ways to deal with short-term money crunches.

Let's Get Financially Fit!

Phew, we covered a lot of ground here! Let's recap the key tips:

➡️ Make budgeting a habit with the 50/30/20 guideline or a spending tracker.

➡️ Reduce monthly bills, do more DIY, and use cashback to cut costs.

➡️ Earn extra income through rideshare driving, selling stuff, or focus groups.

➡️ Build your emergency fund, pay down debt, and diversify income.

Finally, we'd love to hear your biggest takeaway or any questions you have in the comments. Financial fitness is a journey, but you've got this! Feel free to join the community for extra cash and camaraderie.