The prices of goods and services are always on the rise at a faster rate than that it takes you to get a pay rise. It does not mean, however, that it is impossible to save. Often you come across people claiming that they cannot afford to save even a nickel because they do not earn enough. This does not have to be the case for you since the financial choices you make today will, in fact, affect you in future. As difficult as it may seem to save it can be done. The first step in the right direction may be the most difficult to make but once you take it then you realize it is quite easy. Here are a number of ways on how to get you started.
- Record your expenses
It is important to figure out how much you spend. All your expenses should be accounted for; be it a snack, newspaper or coffee. Ideally, it is possible to account for every penny you use. Once you have your data, you can organize it in categories such as groceries, rent, school fees and such. If you do online banking, you could filter your statements and breakdown your expenditure.
- Make a budget
Once you have a clue of how much you spend in a month you can now organize your expense around a workable budget. The budget needs to outline how your expenses measure up to your income. This helps you to plan your spending and limit on overspending. In addition to the monthly expenses, it is crucial that you factor in expenses that occur on a regular but not monthly such as car maintenance.
- Plan on Saving Money
Creating a budget should have a category for saving within it. 10-15 percent of your income should be put aside as savings. If the expenses turn out to be so many that there is no room for saving, this should be a clear indicator that you need to cut back. This can be done by spending less on non-essentials such as entertainment.
- Choose something to save for.
The best motivator for saving is a set goal. Think of what you would like to save for, e.g. buying a piece of land, construction of a house, a vacation etc. Figure out a duration of time that will take to come up with the amount. The money you save could be set aside in an investment account where you are highly likely to earn compounded returns.
- Decide on your priorities.
After determining your expenses and income, your goals are now the greatest determiners of how to go about saving. You could have short- term and long- term goals, this should however not make retirement plans take the back seat of your priorities as this should always be part of what you are saving for. Having some goals take a priority over others, is a plan that gives you a clue on where to start.
- Select the Appropriate tools.
If you are saving for the short-term the following accounts could be the best for you
- Regular savings account
- High- yield savings account
- Bank- money market savings account
- Certificate of deposit
For long- term savings you could consider using
- Securities such as mutual funds and stocks. These products are available through investment accounts with a broker- dealer.
- Make saving Automatic.
Almost all banks offer automated money transfer between your checking and savings accounts. It makes it possible for you to determine how much and where to put your money. It also makes it possible for you to divide your direct deposit between checking and savings account. Having automated transfer is the best solution as it helps reduce the temptation of spending the money instead of saving it.
- Start Small
You don’t have to have a lot of money for you to start saving. It starts with the little you have. You can have a jar or a piggy bank at home and put the coins or the small notes. At the end of the month, you will be surprised by the amount you have saved.
- Save your Raise/Bonus
For those who are employed, you may be lucky enough to receive a pay increase or a bonus. For financial discipline, you could pretend you have not received it and take it straight to the bank instead.
- Watch your savings Grow
Check your monthly progress. This will not only help you stick to your personal savings plan but will also help identify and fix problems quickly. The progress may also play as an encouragement to keep saving as you will be in a position to see how far you have come.
In summary, whenever you receive money, save a portion first, spend what is left. I hope this post is helpful. If so, share to others to educate them on how to save and the importance of doing so.
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Yet another Thursday, kama kawaida (as usual) another guest….
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