Figure out where your money is going. TRACK YOUR SPENDING!
You might have more room in your budget to set aside money for savings than you think. But you won’t know until you TRACK YOUR SPENDING. This is very important! It’s imperitive that you fully understand and SEE where each dollar is going! I recommend Quicken, Personal Capital, or Mint.com. These are great choices and does a great job categorizing your expenses. It’s life changing where your finances are concerned. I personally use Quicken.
If you’re not using one of the tracking tools mentioned above, review your bank statement to figure out how much your necessary expenses – rent or mortgage, utilities, insurance, transportation and food – are costing you. Account for credit cards, student loans and other debt payments. Then, add up how much you’re spending on things you can live without, such as cable TV or Netflix, cell phone, restaurant meals, magazine subscriptions and nights out.
Knowing how much of your paycheck is going toward needs and wants will help you pinpoint how much you can afford to save each month.
Pay yourself first
You should think of saving as one of your fixed expenses that you pay at the beginning of the month rather than waiting until the end of the month to see how much you have left over to set aside. Pay yourself first, then learn to live on what’s left.
One of the best ways to do this is to automate contributions to savings so you don’t even have to think about setting the money aside. If you opted out of your workplace retirement account because you didn’t want to sacrifice any of your small paycheck, you need to opt back in and have contributions automatically withdrawn from your paycheck each pay period. It adds up QUICK! Be sure to at least contribute enough to get the employer match. THIS IS FREE MONEY!!
You also need to be saving for emergencies so you don’t have to rely on credit cards or even retirement savings to cover unexpected costs. (I learned this the hard way!) To build an emergency fund, use the same approach as with retirement savings by setting up automatic monthly transfers from your checking account to a savings account so the money comes out before you have a chance to spend it. I recommend an online savings account. You can find a good one at bankrate.com.
Start with a dime of every dollar you earn. I like saying it that way instead of 10%. It’s the same thing but something about visualizing a dime is POWERFUL! Anyone can save a dime right? Each month increase it by an additional percent.
But, don’t get discouraged if you can’t set aside that much now. (although I don’t believe you!) Even a small monthly contribution will add up to MEGA BUCKS if you start saving at a young age, because your money will have more time to grow. COMPOUNDING IS A WONDERFUL THING!!
CHANGE THE WAY YOU THINK ABOUT MONEY! Your dollars are little green employees that need a really good supervisor. You HAVE to give them GUIDANCE! Tell them what to do. YOU’RE THE BOSS!
Take control of your little green employees TODAY! I’m pulling for you because I know you can do it!
Cut the cord
Thanks for reading,