For some, it seems like saving money comes naturally. With very little effort, they build up an emergency fund, college fund, retirement fund and vacation fund. For the rest of us, it’s not quite that easy.
Saving money isn’t the easiest thing in the world to do. We have to spend a large portion of what we earn in order to have the necessities in life. Once all the bills are paid and those necessities are taken care of, we usually have some money left over. But there’s just so much temptation to spend it, that when it’s all said and done, we frequently don’t have anything left to put into savings.
Most financial advisors will tell you to make a budget, and allocate a certain amount out of each paycheck to savings. Then, when you get paid, put the planned amount into savings before you pay bills or spend a dime. In theory, this is a great idea. But in practice, it can be rather scary – especially if you have limited funds and no savings to fall back on.
But don’t be discouraged. There are a few tricks you can use to get into the habit of saving money. Here are some to try.
* Make your budget, and cut out unnecessary items. It’s okay if they’re small expenses, such as that latte you buy every day. They will add up. Then, instead of making those purchases, put the money that you would have spent on them into savings. If it’s a daily purchase, you can either put away that amount each day or add it up and put it away at the end of the week. You won’t miss the money, because you’ve been spending the same amount anyway.
* Find ways to save money on groceries and other items you buy on a regular basis. Seek out sales, use coupons, or go to a store that has lower prices. Figure up how much you saved, and put that amount into savings after each grocery trip.
* If you get a raise, put the increase from each paycheck into savings. You’ve lived on the amount you were making before for some time, so it shouldn’t be difficult to continue living on that much.
* Set up automatic transfers from your checking account to a savings account. Have your paycheck direct deposited if possible, and set the transfers up to occur shortly after you get paid. As long as you’ve budgeted carefully and chosen a manageable amount to save, you’ll learn to live on the amount of money you have in checking.
Once you’ve started saving up some money, it won’t be as difficult to continue doing so. It feels good to check your savings account balance and see how much it has grown. Once you’ve got some money in there, you’ll be more motivated to find ways to save more.
Filed under: Saving Money