Call him The Boy Who Saved.
Daniel Radcliffe has made an estimated £74 million (equal to about $94 million, based on the current exchange rate) since taking on the eponymous role in the blockbuster Harry Potter franchise. That probably doesn’t come as a surprise, given the eight movies in that series alone have raked in close to $8 billion worldwide.
But you may be surprised to learn that the 27-year-old British actor has, well, been hoarding his money
“I don’t really do anything with my money,” Radcliffe told the Belfast Telegraph in late September. He went on to put forth a compelling argument for why he decided to save it.
“I’m very grateful for it, because having money means you don’t have to worry about it, which is a very lovely freedom to have,” Radcliffe said. “It also gives me immense freedom, career-wise … For all the people who’ve followed my career, I want to give them something to be interested in, rather than them just watch me make loads of money on crap films for the rest of my life.”
Radcliffe may be talking specifically about movie projects, but, no matter what your role in life, he’s right that having some money socked away can afford you a certain amount of freedom and security. People with money in the bank can sleep a little easier at night knowing they could weather an unexpected financial setback (like job loss or major car repair), afford more home and pursue new job opportunities if their boss turns out to be a real He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named.
But, despite these clear advantages, many people — and Americans, in particular — just aren’t saving enough. Survey after survey shows that we’re woefully underfunded for retirement, are ill-equipped to handle even a small financial emergency and carry more debt than is ideal.
Ways Mere Muggles Can Save
Of course, there are plenty of socio-economic reasons for that: Many folks are still recovering from the Great Recession, wage growth has been pretty stagnant and high levels of student loan debt are weighing down many Americans’ finances. (We don’t all have £74 million in the bank, you know?)
But even people who are on a tight budget can consider Radcliffe their financial Patronus (we do) and find some new ways to save. Here’s how you might be able to get some more Galleons in your vault. Accio, savings!
1. Automate Your Savings
You shouldn’t spend more than what you have. If this is a challenge for you, consider setting up an automatic transfer so at least some of your extra funds (after paying your bills) make it into your savings account. You can apply a similar strategy to your investments and up the money from each paycheck that’s going into your 401K.
2. Improve Your Credit
A good credit score can help you save on everything from mortgage rates to insurance policies, so if your credit is looking a little lackluster, it might behoove you to put in a little work. You can improve your scores by paying down high credit card balances, disputing errors on your credit report and identifying specific areas where you need to improve. (You can find out what these areas are and monitor your progress toward building great credit by viewing your free credit report summary, updated every 30 days, on Credit.com.)
3. Find Ways to Generate More Income
The gig economy is real, and, in many respects, thriving, so if you and your family aren’t saving because of lack of income, consider a side hustle. You might be able to make some extra dough selling your stuff online, blogging, running errands for others on the weekend or sharing your ride, among other things.
4. Scrutinize Your Budget
Even if you’ve already cut back, there may be ways you can still reduce your expenses. Spending too much on coffee? Brew your own at home. Blowing your food budget? Switch from brand name to generic products at the grocery store. Paying too much for cable or other subscription services? Ask your provider if they can lower your rate. You can find 47 more ways to stay out of debt — and, as a result, save more — here.