Is it just me or do paychecks seem to be spent as soon as we get them? Then you look around and wonder where the money went. We have probably all had that problem at one time or another. Here are five simple ways to save more than you spend each month.
Five Simple Ways to Save More Than You Spend – Keep More for You
1. Have a financial plan.
- We all need one and having a financial plan is the key to your success. Plan to save or you won’t save anything at all. Before you spend a dime on anything else, put aside ten percent of your paycheck at least once a month. It would be ideal to do it with each paycheck that you earn in a month, but sometimes that is not possible.
- Start with a goal of one paycheck and work your way up. To keep from forgetting, you can have the money deducted from your check and sent to a savings account each pay period.
- That way, you don’t even have to think about it. It is done before the rest of the money is deposited in your checking account.
When developing a budget or financial goals it can be tricky to figure out how far in advance you should plan. If you’re too short-sighted you could wind up with savings that don’t meet your needs. Conversely if you think too far out, you could be putting some of that money you’re tucking away for your savings to better use.
Five Simple Ways to Save More Than You Spend: Here’s how to figure it all out:
What are your financial goals? List your financial goals on a piece of paper. They might be goals like:
* To save for my child’s college education
* To save for retirement
* To save money for emergencies
* To buy a new car or house
Once your financial goals have been listed, here are a few calculations you can make to know how much to save.
Emergency fund: Experts advice people to set aside at least three to six months of cash or liquid assets (investments you can easily convert to cash) in the event of a loss of job, medical emergency, short-term disability, etc. Figure out how much you have to set aside for this emergency fund after your current expenses, and create a goal. If you make $3000/month then you’ll want to set aside a minimum of $9000. This doesn’t mean you have to save it all tomorrow – begin saving for it and create a plan. Maybe you’ll be able to save that much in a year, maybe it’ll take two.
Debt: Most experts agree that your total monthly debt payments shouldn’t exceed 36% of your gross monthly income. This debt includes your mortgage, car payments and credit card debt. Add up your debt and calculate your monthly gross income to see where you are. If you’re above this ration, create a plan to get your debt down quickly.
Savings: You’ve probably heard the rule that you need to save 10% of your income. This rule is a good rule to follow, assuming you are placing additional money into a retirement account. Use this 10% rule with your other savings goals including your emergency account, college education or other goals.
Retirement: Experts tell us that our retirement income should be 75-80% of pre retirement income. This means if you’re making $50,000 right now, your retirement income will need to be $37,500.
Using these numbers will help you determine exactly how much you need to save, how much you have to work with, and how long it will take you to save the money. A little basic planning and goal setting will make the process understandable and manageable.
The numbers presented here, and the guidelines, are just that – guidelines. Your budget and financial plan needs to meet your needs and the needs of your family. This is why it is important to set financial goals and to save with a purpose.
2. Grocery shop with a shopping list.
- Have you ever gone to the store for one or two items and come out with a cart full of stuff? Me, too. A list is like a blinder. It requires you to locate the things written there and ignore everything else.
- When creating the list, look in each cabinet and cupboard to see what you need. If you’re absent-minded like me, attach a magnetic grocery pad to the refrigerator and record when you run out of something. Your list will create itself.
3. Clip coupons.
- Coupons are generated mostly for the grocery store, but department stores have store coupons that offer a percentage or a specific dollar amount off of your purchases. Get that sweater at the end of the season when the store marks clothing down forty percent and offers additional coupon savings.
- Don’t shop at a store just because it has a coupon. Chances are the price has been marked up before the coupon is applied to make you think that you are getting a deal.
- Only use coupons for items and stores that you frequent. Stores that offer free discount cards also have weekly specials that, when combined with a coupon, could save you even more money.Need to buy some new clothes? Make sure you know the tips to
4. Don’t impulse buy.
- Rule of thumb: Don’t purchase anything the first time you see it. This rule goes for big ticket items like cars, furniture, appliances, and electronics.
- Give yourself time to comparison shop to find the best deal. All the stores of the world won’t sell out of big screen TV’s overnight.
- Waiting may show that the item you wanted to buy was a want and not a need. In that case, after clearing your head, you might not go back and buy it anyway.
5. Reward yourself.
- Spending money on something that you want can be thought of as a reward and a privilege earned. Make a list of your “wants”.
- Prioritize them and save until you can afford to get it. In the meantime, you will have added to your savings account and the discretionary fund for the item you dream of buying.
- Knowing that there is a pot of gold at the end of the financial rainbow can be a good deterrent to overspending.
Saving money is a good practice. Not only does it make your finances more stable, but there is also money for a rainy day. Know that you know these Five Simple Ways to Save More Than You Spend, you are well on your way to success.