It’s important to have savings. While living from paycheck to paycheck can seem simpler, having an emergency fund, or even just a small savings account, can make a lot of difference. It’s a good buffer in case something unexpected happens, or to save up for a big purchase like a house or a car. But saving money can be difficult, with loans and debts, living expenses, and all the little things that come up. Now that money is mostly digital, we don’t even have piggy banks to help, so how can you save money every month without enjoying your life any less?
This is a hard habit to get into, but budgeting is an important part of building your finances. Sit down and figure out what your fixed expenses are every month. Add up rent, utilities, loans, and bills, and write that down as your fixed expenses. Balance it against your income, and figure out how much money you can put aside each pay period for savings. And be flexible! The amount may not remain the same every month, and that’s okay.
2) Out of sight, out of mind.
Set up an automatic withdrawal or a withholding from your paycheck, even if it’s a small amount. Start with something you won’t miss, even if it’s as low as $5 a check. See if you can increase it over time, and consider putting raises and bonuses into savings as well. Any additional income that you don’t immediately need can go into savings, or be split between savings and either loan repayment or investing.
3) Split the cost.
It’s easier to manage expenses for a single person than it is for a couple or even a family. However, more people may also mean more sources of income. Try splitting savings with your partner and jointly contributing to a savings account. For a more family-centered approach, set a goal as a family and keep a collection, in a piggy bank or some other visible method. Kids can contribute coins, including pennies, while adults can add whatever loose change or cash they have in pockets. As a bonus, when the goal is reached, you’ll be able to do something the whole family will enjoy, and kids will learn the value of saving.
4) Round up.
A simple way to build a little buffer into your budget is just rounding up. Round up your monthly expenses to the nearest dollar, ten dollars, hundred dollars, or whatever kind of number you’re comfortable working with. If your phone bill costs $52 dollars, budget for $55, or even $60. That gives you the difference as a buffer, if you need it during the month, or it can go into savings. Every little bit helps!
5) Collect coins.
If you rely on cash more than credit, go old-school. Get a piggy bank, or use an old milk jug or soda bottle, and empty your pockets into it at the end of the day. Did you know a 2-liter cola bottle can hold about $350 worth of dimes? Alternatively, try putting aside a $5 or $10 bill every week to go into savings before you plan your budget.
Do you have any money saving tips? Tell us your favorite ways to save money in the comments below!