November 7, 2023
Most of us work hard to earn most of our money. But sometimes, no matter how hard we try, it’s hard to find ways to save money. You may spend less, but something always comes up, especially in an age where we can pull a device out of our pockets, click three times, and the thing we want will be at our doorstep in the next few days. I know it’s difficult to start saving money, but it is not impossible. I hope this simple guide will help you develop a realistic way to save for all your short- and long-term savings goals.
Record your expenses
According to America Saves, the first step to start saving money is to figure out how much you spend. So it’s essential to keep track of all your expenses—that means every household item, groceries, coffee, gas, and cash tip. Once you have your data, organize the numbers by categories, and total each amount.
Using a free financial calculator will help you finesse your monthly budget. Once you have an idea of what you spend in a month, you can start organizing your recorded expenses into a workable budget. It should outline how your expenses measure up to your income so you can limit overspending.
Tip: Aim to save 10 to 15 percent of your income.
Find ways to cut your spending
If your expenses turn out to be higher than what you earn, you can’t save as much as you’d like. It’s time to cut back! Identify nonessentials that you can spend less on, such as eating out. You can cook your meals at home instead. You may also need to cancel the subscriptions and memberships that you don’t use. To determine whether you should keep a subscription or membership, ask yourself when was the last time you use this product or service? Is it worth what you’re paying for this service? Is this something you can live without for a while?
Another way to cut expenses is to consolidate debt – combining multiple debts into one monthly payment. If you have credit cards, the monthly payments could be eating up a big portion of your income. The end goal is to reduce what you pay in interest and lower the monthly payment and pay the debt off.
Tip: When you want to buy a nonessential purchase, give yourself a cooling-off period. (Wait a few days) You may be glad you passed—or ready to save up for it.
Decide on your priorities
After managing your income and expenses, your goals are likely to have the biggest impact on how you allocate your savings. It’s important to know how to prioritize your savings goals so you have a clear idea of where to start saving. Maybe it’s for your new house, a car, etc. Just make sure to remember long-term goals—it’s important that planning for retirement doesn’t take a back seat to shorter-term needs.
Make automatic saving
Automatic savings means you have a process in place to save at regular intervals, whether that’s monthly, weekly, or daily. It is the easiest and most effective way to save money, and it puts extra cash out of sight and out of mind. Almost all banks offer automated transfers between your checking and savings accounts. You can choose when, how much and where to transfer money or even split your direct deposit so a portion of every paycheck goes directly into your savings account.