Whether you want to plan a big getaway or are just trying to improve your financial health in general, the key to achieving your goals is saving. But saying you’re going to start saving and actually doing so are two entirely different things. It can be difficult to put yourself on a financial leash when you’re used to your spending going unchecked, but it’s not impossible to transform your financial situation with some self-discipline and smart planning.
#1: Cut Unnecessary Expenses
One of the easiest ways to start saving money, and a cornerstone of budgeting, is to review your current expenses and see what you can cut. You would be surprised how many things you pay for each month that you don’t even use (or don’t use enough to justify the cost). Subscription services are a good example of something you can easily cut from your spending. If there aren’t any that you don’t use, you could make a compromise and only keep two out of three of your streaming services. Another expense that adds up more than we think over the month is eating out. While you don’t have to completely deprive yourself of this luxury, you can limit yourself to eating out a certain number of times per month or week.
#2: Start an Emergency Fund
While having a general savings is important, getting started with an emergency fund is a solid way to build good habits. Ideally, your emergency savings should cover several months of expenses in case you lose your job. However, you can start smaller. For instance, make a goal to save $1,000 each quarter. That way you have something in your emergency fund should you need it for car repairs, doctor bills, or other surprise expenses. To determine how much you should actually have in your emergency savings and make sure you’re adequately prepared, use this emergency fund calculator.
#3: Use an Automatic Savings App
If you can’t seem to find the self-discipline to transfer money into your savings account every time you get paid, consider using an automatic savings app. These apps are connected to your bank account and automatically put money into a savings nest based on parameters you set. One of the easiest ways to get started with these apps is to set it up so that every purchase is rounded up to the next dollar—the difference between that dollar amount and the actual purchase amount is then added to your savings. Even though it’s only a few cents for most transactions, you’d be astonished by how it adds up over several months or throughout the year. Plus, it takes no real effort on your part, which makes it easy to forget that you’re even saving up money, so you’re not tempted to spend it.
#4: Stop Making Impulse Purchases
It’s easy to hit the add to cart button and find yourself checking out with PayPal when you see something you like online—especially given all the targeted ads that get thrown our way on a daily basis. But if you really want to save, you need to have more control over impulse purchases because they can take you by surprise when you check your bank account. Instead of buying something as soon as you see it, make yourself wait 24 hours or even a week before making a purchase decision. If you still really want it after that period of time, then consider whether it’s worth the money or not.
#5: Consolidate Your Debt
If you’re paying off credit cards, one thing you can do to help pay them off faster and save money on interest is to consolidate your debt. Interest on credit cards, as you likely know, can make it difficult to pay them off, unless you’re able to pay much more than the minimum payment. Fortunately, there are several debt consolidation apps that help you pay off your credit card debt faster. With the help of one of these apps, you can be one step closer to financial freedom. By consolidating your credit cards into one monthly payment, you can simplify your bill and qualify for a lower interest rate, so you’re paying much less over the time it takes you to pay off all your credit card debt.
Get started with these 5 tips and see how much you can save just by making a few simple changes.
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