Have you planned to create a budget or start an emergency savings account but never found the time? Do you tell yourself that you will get to that “someday,” but someday never seems to come?
You may feel there’s never a good time to start saving money. The truth is that you may be correct the perfect time may never come. That’s why it’s essential to start saving money today. Here are five tips to get started.
1. Set Up a Savings Account With Automatic Deposits
The easiest way to save money is to do so automatically. If you never see the money and it goes directly into a savings account, you are less likely to miss it (and much less likely to spend it). Your bank can set up automatic withdrawals. You can determine a dollar amount to withdraw weekly, monthly or whatever works best.
You can also put a percentage of your direct deposit paycheck into a savings account. This may be a good choice if you don’t want to commit to a specified dollar amount.
When you set up automatic withdrawals, you may be surprised at how fast your savings grow with little effort.
2. Negotiate Monthly Bills When Possible
You can sometimes reduce the number of your monthly bills by making a few phone calls. Your insurance company may be able to bundle your auto and homeowner’s policies to lower your premiums. The utility company may offer a flat-rate plan so that you know your bill each month — no surprises when the weather is especially hot or cold.
If your cell phone bill is getting too high, call to see if you qualify for the Affordable Connectivity Program. If you pay for cable or streaming services, consider whether you can temporarily do without one of them while you build your savings. Your cable company may be willing to negotiate with you rather than lose you as a customer.
3. Reduce Your Grocery Bills
One area that has some flexibility is your grocery spending. Sticking to a list can really make a difference. Plan your meals each week and buy only what’s on your list. Avoid impulse purchases as much as possible do you need that fourth bag of chips?
Opt for generic brands when you can. Generic staple products are often the same quality as name-brand products; that can of carrots with the fancy label probably tastes about the same as the generic one next to it.
Many people have some brand loyalties that they don’t want to give up. There’s nothing wrong with that. If you have products that you don’t mind switching to a generic brand, you can sneak in some savings without causing too many ripples.
4. Put Bonus Money in Your Savings Account
A work bonus, tax refund or extra money is often a pleasant surprise. You may be tempted to blow it on an impulse purchase or vacation. Before you do so, consider putting it in your savings account especially if it’s money you weren’t expecting.
“But I want to have fun with that money,” you may say. If you can’t stand the thought of squirrelling away every penny, spend some and save some. Saving part of your bonus money is better than saving none.
5. Learn How To Say “Not Now”
Many people have adjusted to living with instant gratification. You can order almost anything online, and in most cases, it appears at your doorstep quickly. Whether it’s food, clothing, light bulbs or even a new car, you may be accustomed to clicking a few buttons and getting things right away.
It may help you save money to learn how to say “not now” or “no” to some purchases. You may want your food delivered to your door, but can you pick it up yourself or cook from home? Instead of putting a new sweater on your credit card, can you wait until your next paycheck or find a similar style at a consignment shop? Learning to live without instant gratification is an adjustment, but it may help you put more in your savings account.
A few small changes in your spending habits can make a difference. Starting today instead of waiting for the perfect time is a good decision. There’s no time like the present to save for your future.