7.Reassess your savings goals. Subtract your expenses (the ones you can’t live without) from your take-home income (i.e. after taxes have been taken out). What is the difference? And does it match up with your savings goals? Let’s say you’ve decided you can definitely get by on $150 per month, and your paychecks amount to $230 per month. That leaves you with $80 to save. If there’s absolutely no way you can fit all your savings goals into your budget, take a look at what you’re saving for and cut the less important things or adjust the time-frame. Maybe you need to put off buying a new car for another year, or maybe you don’t really need a big-screen TV that badly.
8.Make a budget. Once you’ve managed to balance your earnings with your savings goals and spending, write down a budget so you’ll know each month or each paycheck how much you can spend on any given thing or category of things. This is especially important for expenses which tend to fluctuate, or which you know you’re going to have a particularly hard time restricting. (E.g. “I will only spend $30 a month on movies/chocolate/coffee/etc.”)
9.Stop using credit cards. Pay for everything with cash or money orders. Don’t even use checks. It’s easier to overspend when you’re pulling from a bank or credit account because you don’t know exactly how much is in there. If you have cash, you can see your supply running low. You can even bundle up the predetermined amount of cash allocated for each expense with a label or keep separate jars for each expense (e.g. a bundle/jar for coffee, another for gas, another for miscellaneous). As you pull money from a jar for that particular expense, you’ll see how much remains and you’ll also be reminded of your limit.
- If you need to have credit cards but you don’t want the temptation of having them available to use day-to-day, restrict that section of your wallet with a note or picture reminding you of your savings goals.
- Credit cards are not inherently evil; it’s all about your self control. If you use them responsibly (i.e. completely pay them off every month), you can benefit from them. But the reason most credit card companies make money, however, is because people end up spending money that they don’t have. Unless you are one of the people who can religiously pay off the balance in full every month, you’re better off foregoing the promotions that credit card companies use to lure you in (cash back, introductory APR, airline miles, and so on).
10.Open an interest-bearing savings account. It’s a lot easier to keep track of your savings if you have them separate from your spending money. You can also usually get better interest on savings accounts than on checking accounts (if you get interest on your checking account at all). Consider higher-interest options such as CDs or money-market accounts for longer savings goals.
11.Pay yourself first. Savings should be your priority, so don’t just say that you’ll save whatever is left over at the end of the month. Deposit savings into an account (or your piggy-bank) as soon as you get paid. An easy, effective way to start saving is to simply deposit 10% of every check in a savings account. If you get a check or sum of cash, say 710.68, move the decimal point one place to the left and deposit that amount: 71.07. This works well and requires little thought; over several years, you’ve a tidy sum in savings.
- You can set up an automatic transfer from your checking account to your savings account, either through your bank or with a third-party app. You can elect to transfer a set amount or percentage of purchases at regular intervals (e.g. daily or weekly) from your checking account to your savings account. The advantage of using a percentage is that the amount you save is proportionate to the amount you spend.
- Many employers allow you to deduct savings from your paycheck. The money is directly deposited in your savings account so you never even see it on your paycheck.
- You can also have investments for retirement taken directly out of your pay, and the taxes may be deferred with this option. Your employer may offer a 401k matching program for retirement as well making it even more worthwhile to save.
12.Don’t get discouraged and don’t give up. You may not think you can become wealthy but to become a millionaire is possible if you set up a aggressive savings plan and stick to it. You may be surprised how much money you can put away for something far more enjoyable than what you could buy with short term savings. Good things often take time and the longer you save the more interest you will be making on your savings as well!