Like the majority of people, you have probably often thought about how important it is to save some money. You have likely figured out by now how setting aside money (such as for children’s education, down payment on a home, or even for retirement) is a good idea. However, what you might not be aware of is how exactly to make that first step, so here are a few tips to help you get started.
Start Where You Are
To build good savings habits is really only a simple matter of actually doing something instead of doing nothing. So, start where you are. For example, at the end of each day, empty you wallet and pockets of any change you accumulated during the day, and put it in a jar. Deposit this money monthly into a savings account. Another option is to skip on one coffee a day, and put a dollar aside instead. At the end of the month, this will amount to roughly $30 to deposit into that savings account. After an entire year of doing this, you will have saved an approximated $360!
Keep Track of Habits
Many people typically spend approximately $5 eating out several times a week at the office cafeteria. If you were to reduce this to only once or twice a week, you could take the extra five dollars from the days you don’t spend it, and deposit it into your savings account. The same scenario can be used once you finish paying off your car or student loans. Once the actual loan has been paid in full, continue depositing the same amount in your savings account every month.
Set Goals for Success
In order to develop a discipline for saving, most successful savers have the need to experience a number of small successes in the beginning so one positive experience reinforces the other. Start out by picking short-term, easily attainable goals which will give you a sense of personal satisfaction from the start. For example, your goal might be a new stereo or paying off a credit card balance. Determine what those goals will cost, and give yourself a deadline for achieving them. Then all you have to do is just do it – begin by setting aside the right amount of money as per your schedule, and stick to it. Before you know it, your goal will have been reached.
Needs or Wants?
At some point or another we all have the urge to splurge or pamper ourselves. Of course it’s nice to treat ourselves to something new every now and again. Before making any purchase, however, remember to take the time to consider these questions: “Do I need this?” and “Does this help me achieve my savings goal?” As a rule this will help you make the appropriate decision and stay focused on your goals before making a purchase.
Monitoring Your Expenses
You may want to sit down at the end of each month and review all of your expenses. There may have been areas you didn’t consider before, but by seeing them on paper you realize they are part of what needs to change for the next month.
Stick With It
The most important point in any savings plan is to stick with it. Some people find it helpful to keep their goals in writing. Writing down the amount you need as well as the date you expect to achieve your goal gives you something concrete to focus on. With long-term goals, such as saving for retirement, you may find it helpful to establish milestones you can celebrate along the way.
Big-time savers use an “I can” attitude while thinking long term. By exercising discipline now you can see rewarding paybacks later on. Saving can make the world of difference not only for yourself, but for your children as well. Starting to save today means less to worry about tomorrow.