Earlier this month our ancient clothes dryer finally bit the dust. Of course this couldn’t have come at a more inconvenient time. Christmas left us pretty close to broke, and I really didn’t have the extra cash to spend on a new dryer right away. This made me stop and think hard about my spending habits. I had to admit that I’ve never been good at setting aside some extra money for all of those little things that pop up during the year. I’ve decided that this year, all that is going to change.
If you would like to save more money this year on a regular basis but don’t see where there’s any extra cash, think again. Even if your savings goals seem huge and your saving attempts seem small, don’t give up. Saving small is the first step to a large savings account.
Once you have a hefty savings account, you can keep it as an emergency fund, take a vacation(think tropical paradise!), invest in the stock market or buy a large item such as a car or make a down payment on a home mortgage. It’s good to know your goals because it makes it easier to differentiate between wants and needs. Here are a few ideas to help you start thinking “I CAN save” rather than “how can I save”.
Identify Expenses You Don’t Need
Cutting down on your monthly spending is the first step because when it is reduced, there will be extra money that can go into your savings account. Do you look forward to that daily Starbucks or lunch out with co-workers? Try cutting back to a once week or month outing instead. Take the money you would have spent each day and throw it into your savings account.
Control your desires during grocery shopping. This may sound silly, but grocery stores know it’s not. They purposefully place certain items in places to inspire you to impulse shop. We all know how hard it is to resist that cute lip gloss or candy bar pick-me-up in the check out aisle! Make a list and stick to it. Your grocery bill will be lower leaving a few extra dollars to save.
Other than essential bills, stop all automatic payments to subscription services. Pay for the ones you want and let the rest stop. It’s not worth keeping a service that you use once or twice a year.
Make a Budget
Budgets, who needs them…right? Wrong! Making a budget seems complicated to many and they rationalize that they don’t need one. It is a simple process that can help you save a lot of money. Just write down how much income you have and what your expenses are. When you put these two lists together, it’s easier to see where you can reduce spending. The point is to stick to the budget. This is where willpower will come in handy.
If you think you don’t have the willpower to save every month, have no fear because help is here!
Tools such as Qapital will help you save every time you spend. It provides a separate bank account where money is automatically deposited according to your plan. You can save a set amount or have your spare change deposited. How easy is that? The account will earn interest, is FDIC insured, has top-notch security with fingerprint ID and a remote card lock from your Qapital app. In addition, your bank will set up an automatic transfer of money from your checking account to a savings account.
Do It Yourself
If you think you’re ready to save without help, you may be ready for the 52-week savings challenge. At the end of saving one dollar more each week, starting with one dollar or going backward starting with $52, you will have $1,378 at the end of the year. This makes a substantial emergency fund, or it could also let you spend more on Christmas presents.
There are other savings challenges, but if you are ready to make your own deposits, you can create your own challenge. This doesn’t mean you give up everything fun in your life. The important thing is to put your savings goals first and the new handbag or dinner out only after your goals have been met for the month.
Pay Yourself First
Paying yourself first is probably the most important advice that I can give. The beauty of this savings technique is that your savings is removed from your paycheck before any bills are paid. The common practice is to pay bills first and if there is any money left over, it goes into a savings account. Unfortunately, there often isn’t anything left over. When you pay yourself first, it means you may need to make financial adjustments the rest of the month to cover all of your expenses. However, no matter where you reduce spending, your savings account continues to grow.
Let this year be the start of a new, more financially stable you. If you are serious about growing a substantial savings fund, you can do it. With these tips, you’ll be on your way to saving for that dream vacation, a major appliance, or anything else you can think of!
Until next time!