According to Northwestern Mutual’s 2020 Planning and Progress survey, 9% of Americans have no personal savings at all. That translates to almost one out of every ten people with no emergency fund to fall back on when life changes or they’re faced with a sudden transition.

If you’re one of millions of women who want to curb overspending and improve your finances, here are 11 simple steps to save money in 2021:

The Pros of Utility Budget Plans.

A budget plan allows you to pay the same each month based on your prior 12 months of usage. In addition, there are no steep increases in cold and warm weather months when you use more power.

Cut Down on Subscription Services.

Between streaming services, monthly subscriptions and magazines, these services add up. Go through your banking accounts and online payment services like PayPal to make a list of these costs. Are there any you can cancel? If not, is there a cost-saving plan worth considering?

Cut the Cord.

More consumers are cutting cable television for livestreaming services. You can watch local TV, 80+ national news, sports and entertainment channels plus movies. With cable, you’re not only paying for the services, broadcast fees and taxes but many people still pay for boxes and DVR service. If your cable company won’t offer you a new promotional rate, bundles your services or offer a budget plan, consider switching to livestreaming television.

Delivery Direct.

During the pandemic, contactless food delivery services saved the day. The problem is that services like Door Dash, Uber Eats and Grubhub not only charge a hefty service AND delivery fee but take a commission from restaurants, further hurting our local businesses. While we all like ordering online, many restaurants offer in-house delivery with no third-party vendor involved. Try calling and ordering from the restaurant directly.

Reduce Your Insurance Rate.

Maximize your car, homeowners, boat, and other insurance types by calling your insurance company and asking them whether you can reduce your current rate. Your policy may qualify for additional discounts and benefits, especially new ones not offered online.

Affordable Gift Giving.

The Holidays are over, but gift-giving is never-ending. We all want to find the perfect gift no matter the occasion, even if we feel compelled to spend a little more. Yet, most people don’t include gifting as a line item in their budget. Think about the gifts you need to purchase in the next month. Allocate a maximum amount ahead of time and stick to that budget. Track your monthly gift-giving and add it to your 2021 budget.

Annual Renewals.

Whether it’s your health club membership, Microsoft Office License or your warehouse club renewal, knowing when these annual costs occur will help you plan and budget appropriately. It’s also a good time to optimize your budget by reexamining these costs and removing any nonessential or unused expenses.

Turn off auto-renewal.

Auto-renewal is a nice convenience and allows you to avoid service interruption. However, turning off auto-renew is not only a smart money practice but it enables you to reevaluate your subscription each year or look for special promotions that can save you money.

Establish An Emergency Fund.

We all have “want” items – new clothes, jewelry or that cute purse you saw last week. Before you buy that “want” item, make sure you have at least $1,000 in an emergency fund. You may run into unforeseen expenses and will “want” that money for medical, major house or car fixes, unemployment or something unexpected.

Rid those Hidden Phone Charges.

You may be paying for phone charges you didn’t even know were there, such as phone insurance, surcharges, service fund fees and even fees so you can upgrade your phone in a shortened timeframe. Call your phone carrier and have them walk you through your itemized phone bill. Don’t be afraid to ask your provider to remove the charge. And while you’re on the call, ask if any promotions will lower your bill or allow you more data.

IRS Deductions.

Tax season can be a time for dread and dismay but it’s an excellent time to review your current tax withholdings. Is there more you can keep in your paycheck? You may not get as much back at the end of the year, but it will help your monthly budget and put a little more money into your pockets.

For many, times are tight but try these simple ways to save money. Let me know-how it goes. If you need financial advice or a financial coach, don’t hesitate to reach out to Paula Jenkins, owner, LFS Consulting at or email me for a free budget template to help you get started. You can get other free advice on my website at

Content provided by Women Belong member Paula Jenkins