Many people struggle with building up a decent savings amount. When costs fluctuate from month to month it can be difficult to find a way to save for unplanned expenses. Did you know that most financial advisors recommend putting at least 10% of your total income into savings for your retirement or rainy day fund?
In today’s economy this amount may be difficult for many, but putting SOMETHING away is better than nothing. When money is tight it’s even more important to ensure money is put aside to cover any emergencies that may arise. In January 2017 CBS reported that 57% of Americans do not have enough funds put aside to be able to afford a $500 emergency expense, such as a vehicle repair, high utility bill, etc. While income does play a factor for many, a large portion of these people are in this situation because of poor financial management. Managing your finances can be simple and easy, and can lead many out of the "living paycheck to paycheck" lifestyle. Below are some suggested actions that can help you start saving today.
Create a budget and stick to it: This is probably one of the most important items you can do to help manage your money and set up savings. Creating a budget shows you your income and expenses and if anything is left over. It can also give you a better idea of where you are spending more money than necessary. Once you set your budget you will need to track it, which can be done in a variety of ways but today one of the easiest ways for many is via an app on your cell phone. This allows you to have almost instant access to your budget and makes it significantly easier to track your expenses.
Setup an automatic transfer to savings or split your payroll direct deposit: Setting up an automatic transfer is important to ensure your savings account increases with minimal management on your part. That way you can ensure money is put aside even if life gets too hectic for you to manage it directly. Also many savings accounts gain interest, and while it may not seem like much at lower balances the interest keeps adding up and increasing your savings account. Be sure you are setting aside an amount you can feasibly do without.
Set a savings goal: Having a goal can be a strong driving force for many. Set a realistic goal that is doable for your budget. Many people make the mistake of shooting higher for a goal, and falling short of your goal can lead many to give up. Reaching your goal can be extremely fulfilling, so you should set a goal around your budget.
Eliminate some “guilty pleasures”: We all have these, and they can be something that’s seemingly inexpensive such as your daily coffee stop or something more expensive like eating lunch out at work every day. Think about all the extra purchases you do and start replacing some of them with a cheaper option. For example if you eat a lunch out every day at work you could spend an average of $35-$50 a week. Try bringing lunch from home a few days a week and you’ll start to see the extra savings immediately!