Saving For The Future: 3 Easy Ways To Start Now
Saving money can be difficult. Sometimes just the idea of saving can be so stressful that it feels easier to just not worry about; however, in the back of all of our minds we know that saving is necessary for our long term security and happiness. To make saving as painless as possible, check out the below three saving strategies that will help you save more.
1. Save a portion of your raise every year
If saving more money right now seems impossible, you can still make plans to save part of any additional money you make in the future. Just by making the commitment to save half of every year’s raise, you can snowball your savings from a small portion of your paycheck to a meaningful amount of money in just a few years.
For example, if you expect a $2,000 raise each year for the next 3 years (that’s about $166 before tax per month) and you set aside half of that as savings ($83 per month or $1,000 per year), by year three you will be saving an additional $3,000 per year. Do this for a few more years and you will be able to max out a Roth or traditional IRA contribution assuming you have already been contributing up to your 401k match.
2. Set up auto contributions to your savings account every time you receive a paycheck
Do you plan to save a portion of your paycheck but then find there is nothing left over at the end of the month? If you know that you are overspending but you can’t seem to stop, Setting up a direct deposit to savings could help you save much more than you do now.
If you are not contributing up to your match in your company 401k plan, this would be a great way to begin implementing this strategy. Once you are contributing up to your 401k match, start by setting up a small per-paycheck direct deposit of $25-50 into a savings account if you need to build up your emergency fund or a Roth/Traditional IRA. If you find you don’t miss the money you are putting into savings, try increasing the amount you are saving to $50-100 per paycheck.
If $25-50 per paycheck sounds like too much to bear, try starting with an even smaller amount like $10 per paycheck. Any amount of money contributed to savings is a step in the right direction and will help you realize that saving money not as difficult as it seems.
3. Plan to reduce fixed expenses in the future
Fixed expenses such as auto payments, rent, and commuting costs are not easy to reduce immediately. That said, if you plan ahead you can make large spending cuts in the future that don’t have too much effect on your lifestyle.
Instead of settling into your current living situation, it may be to your benefit to be on the lookout for similar accommodations that are less expensive and closer to where you work. Cutting down on commuting costs could save you a substantial amount of money and travel time each month depending on the distance you commute. Apartment and home prices also vary widely and you may be able to find a great deal if you are on the lookout. Even just $50 per month saved on apartment and commuting costs amounts to $600 per year that you could be saving!
Auto payments are another form of fixed payment that can make it difficult to save. If you find that your auto payment is overwhelming, you might consider selling your current car and buying something more manageable. Situations can change quickly; there is no shame in admitting that you need to make changes in your current spending situation so you can save more money. Making the switch to a less expensive car will give you more budget flexibility which may in the end actually make you happier than your newer car did.