When you’re used to living paycheck to paycheck, it seems impossible to save. How are you supposed to save money for vacation, or Christmas, or for a major expense you know is coming when it seems as though everyday life uses up every penny you have to spare? As it turns out, a little savings can go a long way.
Taking the Savings Challenge
There are plenty of money-saving challenges designed to show you just how far a little savings out of every paycheck can go over the course of a year. For example, one popular challenge encourages you to save one more dollar every week: save one dollar week one, two dollars week two, and by the end of the year, when you’ll drop $52 in your jar, you’ll have $1,378 at the end of the year.
Another challenge encourages you to round up to the nearest dollar amount whenever you spend money and designate the extra to savings–some bank accounts will even do that for you automatically! Still others encourage you not to spend dollar bills–a more efficient method of saving if you use cash on a regular basis than if you use your debit card. You may also find that simply dumping your coins in a jar at the end of every day allows you to scrape a little extra into your savings account by year’s end. The trick to saving is to find a method that works for you. Choose a method that you can stick with. Ideally, you want to take the money out of your account before you have time to notice that it’s missing: if you develop the attitude that you’ll save what’s left over, there will never be any extra.
Money Saving Tips that Add Up Fast
If you’re used to living a lifestyle that uses every penny of your paychecks long before the next one arrives, you might wonder whether or not it’s even possible to save. Savings, however, often comes in unexpected places. Try some of these money saving tips to reduce your spending so you’ll be able to find more to save.
Prepare healthy meals ahead of time. Whether this means developing a meal plan, throwing a meal in the slow cooker before you head out the door, or preparing freezer meals that are easy to pull out and throw together when you’re in a hurry, preparing your meals ahead of time can help protect you from the trap of grabbing fast food when you “don’t have time” to stop for a meal.
Don’t go shopping for fun. If you actually need something, it’s fine to go shopping for it: clothes, food, or gifts for the kids’ birthdays, for example. Avoid shopping, however, when you’re just going to fill some time. There are cheaper ways to entertain yourself!
Shop with a list. When you do go shopping, from holiday shopping to trips out for items that you need, go with a list and don’t purchase items that aren’t on it. Learn to tell the difference between a deal and an unnecessary expense. For example, buying your child a pair of shoes in the next size up when they’re half off is a deal. Buying yourself an expensive pair of boots that you wouldn’t have purchased if they weren’t on sale, however, is an unnecessary expense.
Balancing your budget and helping the savings add up doesn’t happen overnight. With patience, however, you can save for major expenses and even create a comfortable savings account that will protect you in the event of emergencies. Over time, you’ll develop new financial habits that will make savings automatic and increase your financial success.