Do you recognize the need to start saving money? Are you tired of the insecurity and dissatisfaction you feel every time you consider your financial future? Do you wish you could start saving money – even today – but don’t know where to begin?
The reasons why saving money is difficult differ from person to person. For some, saving money is much too complex. The hard-to-pronounce terminology, tricky math equations, and legal jargon not only confuse the issue, but make even the thought of saving money overwhelming and energy consuming.
For others, saving money is tough in this sluggish economy. Food, energy, and housing prices have shot through the roof and are soaring into the solar system. Paychecks are getting leaner and the chance of layoffs is ever closer. In times like these, many wonder how they will afford to drive to work the next day, let alone enough money to steadily and consistently start saving money.
There is no doubt that the quest to get started saving money presents many tough challenges. But the truth is, with a little guidance and a lot of perseverance, you can enjoy the rewards that saving money brings.
To help you get started, here are seven easy steps you can take to get you on the right track to saving money consistently and in a manageable way.
1 – Define clear, attainable goals.
You’ve got to define some solid goals oriented around saving money. Goals are important because they allow you to (a) define precisely what you want, and (b) see the prize that awaits at the end of the long and hard journey.
Knowing what you want as a unique individual (as opposed to accepting the one-size-fits-all generalities) will help ensure you work towards goals that you really desire and want to achieve. It also gives you a reason to keep working towards your goals even when the going gets a little tougher.
Setting a good saving goal means a lot of brainstorming, pondering, and research. You have to know specifically what you want, determine if it is achievable, and make sure that it is really a goal you personally want to achieve.
2 – Define a ‘D-Day’ for your money saving goal.
Now that you have goals, the next step is to get a rough idea of when you want to achieve them.
The reason you want to do this is simple. It allows you to create plans for achieving your money saving goals in a way that fits into a feasible time period. Also, setting D-Days for goals like a college fund or a beefy emergency fund can be helpful in ensuring that you actually do the work to achieve those goals, as we tend to put off those things to which deadlines are not attached.
Creating deadlines can be challenging. For most goals (especially long term ones) you may have to be flexible if your situation or resources to save money changes. But at least you will be aiming in the right direction. You’ll be much more likely to achieve your goals this way.
3 – Talk with your spouse about saving money.
If you’re married, it is wise to talk with your spouse about goals like retirement, college funds, and other life-significant financial goals. You both want to be on the same page as you work towards the same outcome. That will help better ensure success in achieving the goals you set.
4 – Budget your way to saving money.
There is one thing that will provide the raw-material for you to start saving money: your income.
One factor that commonly holds people back from putting some of their income aside to achieve their saving goals is disorganization. They end up living paycheck-to-paycheck. As a result, their spending is disorganized, lacks any kind of plan, and they are totally thwarted in their effort to set some some money aside for their savings. The result? They end up with no savings and no clue as to where all their money has gone.
That is why budgets are so useful for setting up a program for saving money on purpose.
A budget will allow you to organize your monthly income so that you can allocate it into reasonable and proper amounts per category. It cuts out a lot of waste and overspending on needless items while at the same time you are saving money for something you consider to be significant to your life.
Budgets can be as formal or informal as you want to make them. They can be neatly laid out on a computer spreadsheet or they can be scribbled down on the back of an envelope. As long as your budget is accurate and allows you to easily organize your spending and saving each month it will work great.
5 – Find other sources of income to help start saving money.
After completing your budget, you may find that you have a few too many saving goals than can be supported by your income. What do you do? Find other sources of income. Can you find ways to make some extra cash in your spare time? Look around you.
There are a lot of good options for earning extra money today. But you will likely have to think creatively to come up with ideas that are just right for you. Start by looking at hobbies that interest you. Do you like antiques? Maybe you should consider following an old but proven business model: go to local thrift stories, garage sales, and yard sales to pick up great deals that you can turn around and sell for a profit on sites like E-bay.
Do you have any talents or passions you’d like to explore? Do you like to paint, write, sew, or practice woodworking? This can be a good time to start looking for ways to turn those things into have always interested you into extra money. Even if you only pick up a few hundred dollars a month, that will still help you achieve those saving goals.
6 – Remove costly luxuries to help you start saving money.
There is nothing wrong with having the finer things of life. But if you’ve created a budget in which a lot of money is being spent on luxuries, you should consider removing (or at least cutting back) on them so that you have some increased funds to start saving money with.
For instance, you may eat out often. If you’re unable to invest in your saving goals, then perhaps you will find cutting back on the number of times you eat out helpful. You can enjoy some home-cooked meals. Eating at home instead of a restaurant (even the supposedly inexpensive fast food chains) can potentially save you 10%-20%, or even more, on your food bill.
7 – Start saving money with wise investments.
Saving money in a way that allows it to grow and stay secure is important. But unless you’re Warren Buffet, picking great investments can be a challenge. There are a number of critically important things that need to be taken into account as you carefully search and select investments that you can safely choose to put your savings in. You’ll want to pay attention to things like risk possibilities, return potentials, tax consequences, and early-withdrawal penalties.
As somebody who wants to be successful at saving money, you’ll want to learn about investing at a deeper level than most do. That doesn’t mean you have to get a fancy degree or do intensive study on the subject for the next ten years of your life. But you should:
• Read books by experts on investing;
• Read/watch news items and programs that relate to investing;
• Talk to professionals in the area of saving money.
Some may get the impression that those slick Wall Street investors have abilities to save and invest that are beyond the average person. But that’s not the case. Anybody can develop a decent understanding and an effective strategy for saving money. If you’re serious about saving money and growing your bank account, you can do the same.