In today’s economy, it can feel overwhelming, and even impossible, to save money. As living expenses zoom past what is considered to be a livable wage, the lifestyles of today can make you feel discouraged and pessimistic. While the budgeting practices of the past may not work for your daily lifestyle, there is still hope.
Intuit, the creator of QuickBooks, Mint, and TurboTax, thinks financial gain could be as simple as changing the way you think. Do you have a jar or center console filled with loose change? What about saved up gift cards or store credit? Embrace your income-hoarding habits as creative ways to save money.
Before you can begin saving money, it may be beneficial to take notice of how much income you have, what you spend it on, where and why. Be completely upfront and hold yourself accountable for every penny. This will allow you to look at your income versus your outcome and your expenditures, and will ultimately show you what and where to cut. Use this information to update or build a budget. Within your budget, determine specific areas where you can save a few dollars here and there. It may not seem like much, but let’s say that at the very least, you can save $20 a month. At the end of the year, you will have collected $240 from just $5 off of your weekly check.
Once you are aware of your income versus outcome, have a budget set, and a savings plan determined, you can begin looking into other ways to conserve more funds. Here are a few money saving tips that you may have missed:
- Multiple Accounts – Rather than using a set budget, you could instead distribute your paychecks across numerous different bank accounts labeled for various expenses. So, if you used three accounts, one could be rent, another transportation, and the final for leisure activities. Then use your bank account like a prepaid credit card. If you have no funds in the leisure account, you know you can’t order food or go out.
- Student Loans – Okay, I hear you. This may seem counterproductive. You want to save money, and I’m saying spending on loan payments. But let me explain. Rather than waiting for your grace period to end, you can begin working on the interest immediately. Even when payments aren’t expected, most student loans continue to accrue interest. If you start paying sooner, you could end up saving hundreds to thousands of dollars. Here’s the trick: pay more than the minimum payment to really make a dent.
- 401(K) Match – Oh yeah! We’re talking long-term savings here. Money that is invested in your younger years will be worth way more due to the amount of time it has to grow. Max your employers 401(K) contribution or you’re saying, “No thanks, I don’t like free money.”