Saving and putting yourself first is sometimes easier said than done. In order to be financially secure and prepared for the future there has to be savings but it can feel like the bills never allow for it. This is where budgeting comes into play; the budget must be situated in such a way that savings comes out first. A percentage or a set amount of money each week will make it easier. You must remember to put yourself first each payday after all you’re the one that worked so hard for your paycheck not someone else.
You have to be sure that you pay yourself first or you could regret it in the long run. When you don’t save you can end up in a bind when unexpected bills come up or the economy takes a turn for the worse. Living below your means before you absolutely have no other choice will help the efforts to save money and put yourself first. At the same time the panic that comes with a sudden decrease in income is avoided. Charging everything isn’t the answer to not spending all of your income and then some; charging is the way you get into debt that is nearly impossible to dig yourself out of.
If you have credit card debt and you’re income begins decreasing stop using the credit cards immediately. Then begin to pay the minimum amount due each month until you have achieved your savings goals. If you don’t use credit cards don’t start; instead put some money aside for wanted or needed items that aren’t urgent. This will enable you to pay cash for them which avoid interest charges and possible late fees. Credit card companies are great at creating the illusion of money and at faithfully charging interest that can quickly put you into a large amount of debt.
Reducing expenses will make savings a lot easier. If you have your utilities included in your rent then chances are lowering them won’t do much good but for those that don’t they can be reduced drastically. Taking a look at the monthly utility expenses can often allow you to find at least $20 a month you could be saving. Changing the light bulbs in your home to the new energy efficient models really will save you some money in the long run and the difference in the bill is obvious the first full month you have them in your home. Unplugging all of the chargers and items with clocks (except for the alarm clock) in the home will reduce the light bill even further.
Making sure that you aren’t paying for things you don’t need such as two phone lines will make the savings effort much easier. If you have a landline and a cell phone cut one of them off and lower the bill on the other one as much as possible. If you think you can do without a phone then turn it off completely.
There are other ways to save money and put you first that have nothing to do with the monthly bills. Most people like to go out to eat at lunch or stop for morning coffee, cutting these out of the daily routine just one day a week can save you about $8.50 at the end of a five day work week if you cut it out all together that’s $42.50. Now think about all of those vending machines that charge $1.00 for a soda or even a bottle of water. Stop buying them out of the machine and purchase them at the grocery store to take with you. You’ll save a small fortune.
When it comes to grocery shopping and buying those things you need for the home each month such as laundry detergent and dishwashing liquid make a list and take cash to pay for your purchases. When you take cash you’re less likely to spend more than you have in your budget. Don’t dig through your pockets for change, instead break a dollar and put your change into a jar when you get home.
Did you use coupons or purchase sale items? If you did and managed to avoid impulse purchases then you are probably under budget. Don’t spend the additional money, put it in a special savings envelope and forget about it until the next time you have money left from a shopping trip. Check the envelope the same day you notice your change jar is full; now roll your change and take them both to the bank to deposit into savings.
When you save and put yourself first life is simpler and there is less stress experienced. You’ll find that faithful saving and living below your means will make you breath easier if the day ever comes that you find yourself standing in the unemployment line. Once you find yourself in the unemployment line don’t immediately go to the emergency savings you have set up instead reduce expenses even further. The unemployment income will stretch farther than you ever thought possible while allowing the emergency fund you set up to grow larger.