If you haven’t already been saving, there’s no time like the present. Saving at any time in your life is important and can impact you in small and big ways. Every little bit of savings you can scrape together is impactful. Anyone can save. You may be in a place in your life right now where you have lots of expenses – school debt perhaps, family priorities or maybe you’re between jobs. It’s still possible to save. Below are some ways to get started and stick to it. Over time, your savings will grow.
- Record your expenses. This is a great place to start. Most people don’t even realize at the end of a month, when there’s no money left, what they’ve actually spent on. Sure, we all know our major expenses like rent or mortgage, car payments, groceries, insurance and so forth, but what about those little $5 and $10 spends here and there? Take note! You may find that your spending on something frivolous that you can do without or limit.
- Plan on saving. Seems obvious, right? For most saving must be intentional. If you can throw $20 into your savings account or go have drinks with a friend, you’ll probably have drinks with a friend. Take that $20 off the top. Remove it from the equation straight away. You’ll probably still be able to have drinks with a friend, but perhaps that just means inviting them over to your place to mix up a cocktail.
- Have a savings goal. We all need something to look forward to, right? Maybe it’s planning a dream vacation, or saving for a bucket list item? Perhaps you want to remodel your kitchen? Those things all take money. Working toward a goal makes that saving effort tangible and rewarding. The only caveat, insure that your savings is not limited to an eventual spending goal. Save some for a rainy day, emergency and/or long term retirement reserve, in addition to the fun savings goal.
- Make saving a no-brainer. Most banks now have multiple saving options you can take advantage of. For example, you can set up your account to auto transfer a determined amount to your savings at a frequency you choose. There are other programs that will round up to the next dollar every time you use your checking or debit card. That “spare” change, which you would normally never notice, gets auto transferred each time into your savings. Ask your bank today about these easy saving options you can tap into. It adds up!
- See something you can’t live without? Enact a 30 day freeze on any spending over $100. Most of the time we find after 30 days, we can live without that item we “had to have” in the moment a month before. This a good way to introduce some discipline into money management, too.
- Decide you still need or want that item after 30 days? That’s okay. Is there a chance, though you can buy it used? Most items can be found in great condition used or perhaps it’s the last model or version, which is available now at a discounted price. Refurbishment is a great option for electronics, too and usually come with a warranty. Sites like Overstock, eBay and Amazon all offer used or refurbished options on top brands.
Whatever methods you enlist, don’t wait any longer to start your savings. Any amount you can set aside, is money well saved. Good luck!