Saving isn’t always easy. Life can be expensive and sometimes we want to treat ourselves to special treats that aren’t in the budget. It’s important to understand the necessity of saving and make your best effort to save daily.
Below are a few great tips for getting on track.
Create a Budget
On the first day of each month, get receipts for everything you purchase and stack the receipts into categories like dining out, groceries, and personal care. At the end of the month, you will be able to see where most of your money is going.
Use Cash and Envelopes
If you have trouble with overspending, try the envelope budgeting system. You place a set amount of cash in an envelope. Once the cash is gone, it’s gone.
Make a Savings Plan
If you have a savings plan you are twice as likely to save successfully. Use the strategies you believe will assist you most and stick to them. It’s not always easy, but it will pay off (literally) in the long run.
Setup automatic savings. It is the easiest and most effective way to save. If you don’t even see it, you won’t think about spending it. Each pay period, have your employer deduct a certain amount from your paycheck and transfer it to a retirement or savings account. If it is easier, you can do this through your bank or credit union. They will transfer a fixed amount from your checking account to a savings or investment account.
Short Term Goals First
Make a goal such as setting aside $25 per week or month, rather than initially focusing on a long-term savings goal. In general, people are more successful in saving when they keep short-term goals, smaller increments.
Start Saving for Retirement
Saving for retirement doesn’t seem easy. It doesn’t have to be super complicated either. Simply saving from your day job likely won’t make you rich. Earning interest on investments over many years builds wealth. The youngest workers are in the best position to start saving for retirement. Start saving and investing early. Do not go for risky investments when you are older, especially if you are nearing retirement.
Take Advantage of Employer Matching
Employers will often match a certain amount of what you save in a retirement plan such as a 401(k). If you don’t take full advantage of this match, you’re leaving “free” money on the table.
Take a Breath before Deciding
If you are thinking of making a large purchase, take a day and think it over. This will allow you time to decide if it is something you truly want or need or provide you with time to talk to your spouse or significant other. It is always best to talk through large purchases with your significant other or spouse before spending.
If you are tempted to order from particular sellers after receiving their emails (especially if they are sending you “deals”), unsubscribe. Avoid temptation. If it isn’t obvious on the email, scroll to the very bottom of the email; the option is likely in very small print.
Pay in Full
Pay off your bills in full, monthly. Leaving a balance on your credit card adds interest, which means you pay more.
Visit the Library
Having memberships to our public library also allows us to use their digital apps! We use one app for ebook and audiobooks, a second app for music and a third for tv shows and movies.
Cook at Home
You might not have realized it yet, but cooking at home, if done well, can save you a lot of money. You can make roughly 8 servings of spaghetti and marinara sauce for the cost of one serving at a restaurant. You only need to purchase a basic box of pasta and one bottle of marinara sauce.
Tip: Spices and extracts are expensive at first but they are worth it and they last! Basil, parsley, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper. These will save you big money in the long run.