One of the most overwhelming parts of adulthood is the concept of retirement and how to start saving money. It seems like something that would naturally occur once you start working and earning a salary. Yet, most Americans do not have any money saved at all. It’s difficult to put money aside and keep it there, particularly with necessary bills and other immediate gratifications we could spend our money on – like a new pair of shoes or an iPhone. As scary or impossible as it may sound to save, learning to manage your money and developing good spending habits will save you a lot of stress later on. There is nothing more stressful than living beyond your needs and worrying about how you are going to pay your bills or enjoy your life. Don’t know where to start? No worries! Here is a list of the best money-saving tips for everyone.
Create a Budget, And Stick To It
The first and most important step in starting to save money is setting a realistic budget for your lifestyle. If you’re not sure how to set a budget, a good rule to follow is the 50/20/30 rule! 50% to essentials, 20% to savings & 30% for personal spending. Take a look at your spending in your banking app, categorize each purchase, and analyze how to make that fit your new budget.
Track Your Spending
Although this can be tedious, it is the best way to see how much you are spending and create a plan to spend less to save more. A quick search of Pinterest and Etsy yields tons of budget spreadsheets and templates. Find one that works for you and consistently schedule a time to fill it in.
Cancel Automatic Subscriptions
One of the easiest ways to save money is by reviewing all your subscriptions. Ensure you know what you are paying for each month, and if you even want to continue. Sometimes you will realize you have been paying for subscriptions you didn’t even know about.
Cable can be costly! Let’s be honest, in a day of Netflix, Disney+, Hulu, and numerous other streaming services, it’s difficult to justify the high price tag of cable TV packages. Do some research on products like the Amazon Fire TV Stick or Roku TV to see if you can literally cut the cable.
Save Money Automatically
Instead of transferring your own funds into your savings account, automate it! Set up your account so that when you deposit your paycheck, 10% of your funds go directly into your savings account. This takes the responsibility and temptation to spend your extra funds off your shoulders. Another way to automate your savings is by setting up round-up features to your checking account. Your bank may offer a feature that rounds up each purchase to the nearest dollar and deposits the change into your savings account. If they don’t, look into third-party apps. Many offer round-up rules and can even transfer money from your checking account into your savings when you shop at specific stores.
Plan Your Grocery List
Every week before heading out to the grocery store, make a list of exactly what you will buy and stick to it. This helps you avoid shopping for things you don’t really need. Remember, it’s best to not shop on an empty stomach because then you over purchase!
Become a DIY Aficionado
Before you go out and buy anything, ask yourself, is this something I could make myself? Doing things yourself is an excellent way of spending extra cash on something that you could perfectly repurpose or build from scratch. Plus, you can thrift digitally with Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist, and other apps – just be safe when meeting up.
Stop Buying Morning Coffee
This one is tough, but it makes such a difference. Imagine cutting out $7 from your daily routine. That means you’d save around $200 a month and about $2400 a year! Of course, this idea isn’t just limited to coffee. What do you regularly purchase that you could make at home?
Another way to save money is to sell all the things that no longer bring you value. If you start living a minimal life, you are teaching yourself that less is more. Or, think of it simply as a way to make extra cash for those purchases that aren’t necessarily in your budget; that way, you’re not skimming money from your savings.
It’s the antithesis to those late-night Amazon purchases. The 30-day rule states that if you want to make a big purchase, wait 30 days to see if it is something you actually want to spend your money on. After the 30 days have passed, decide if the item is still important to you. If it is, go ahead and spend the money.