We all want to save money. Sometimes the hardest thing about saving money is just getting started. This step-by-step guide for how to save money can help you develop a simple and realistic strategy, so you can save for all your short- and long-term savings goals.
Use these money-saving tips to generate ideas about the best ways to save money in your day-to-day life.
Table of contents
Make a budget
Once you have an idea of what you spend in a month, you can begin to organize your recorded expenses into a workable budget. Your budget should outline how your expenses measure up to your income-so you can plan your spending and limit overspending. Be sure to factor in expenses that occur regularly but not every month, such as car maintenance.
No, it’s certainly not easy to quit, but if you smoke a pack and a half every day, that amounts to nearly a year you can realise in savings if you quit.
Record your expenses
The first step to start saving money is to figure out how much you spend. Keep track of all your expenses-that means every tea, household item and cash tip.
Once you have your data, organise the numbers by categories, such as gas, groceries and total each amount.
Use your savings goal planner
One of the best ways to save money is to set a goal. Start by thinking of what you might want to save for-perhaps you’re getting married, planning a vacation or saving for retirement. Then figure out how much money you’ll need and how long it might take you to save it.
If you’re saving for retirement or your child’s education, consider putting that money into an investment plan.
While investments come with risks and can lose money, they also create the opportunity for growth when the market grows, and could be appropriate if you plan for an event far in advance.
Control your impulses
Credit cards, ATMs and online shopping make it easier than ever to spend money. Especially on things we want rather than need; the extent to which we succumb to temptation typically boils down to our willpower. Studies have shown that self-control is a bit like a muscle that tires out with use.
Ironically, it’s the willpower of poorer shoppers that tends to get depleted the most. This is a result of the fact they face repeated, difficult financial decisions.
If you see something you want, wait at least a day before you buy it – 30 days if it’s a non-necessary big purchase.
Decide on your priorities
After your expenses and income, your goals are likely to have the biggest impact on how you allocate your savings.
Be sure to remember long-term goals-it’s important that planning for retirement doesn’t take a back seat to shorter-term needs.
Learn how to prioritize your savings goals so you have a clear idea of where to start saving. For example, if you know you’re going to need to replace your car in the near future, you could start putting money away for one now.
Watch your savings grow
Review your budget and check your progress every month. Not only will this help you stick to your personal savings plan, but it also helps you identify and fix problems quickly. Understanding how to save money may even inspire you to find more ways to save and hit your goals faster.