Everyone seems to have good intentions when it comes to saving money, but sometimes having the urgency to want to save comes at a higher price once unexpected bills start to pile up and credit scores begin to decline.
One of the many things that keep us from saving money is the conviction that you must be at a certain income bracket to preserve large amounts of currency. For those of you who are grade “A” procrastinators, you know that managing money can often seem daunting and time-consuming. From setting up checking accounts, to transferring funds, putting the energy behind growing bank can be downright frustrating.
However, once you understand why you’re not taking the next steps in improving your finances, it is much easier to break through those hurdles that are holding you back from financial freedom.
Here are 4 best money saving practices that will have every procrastinator jumping up to get their finances in order.
Setting Financial Goals
It’s natural to feel lost or overwhelmed as you begin to think about setting and balancing financial goals. The key to this practice is to understand what the meaning of success is to you and how you want to obtain success through your finances.
Visualize where you want to be in the future and set aspirations that align with your values. For example, if you wish to live a luxurious lifestyle, think of how your current financial situation is currently set up to achieve just that. Aligning your goals with the type of lifestyle that you desire will increase the chances of jump-starting savings and pushing procrastination to the side.
Remember that success means different things to different people. Some do not aspire to be extremely wealthy and that is ok. Do not allow others to intimidate you into increasing your financial goals if that is not a concern to you. One step at a time, going at your own pace is what matters most.
Creating a Realistic Budget
If the sound of budgeting makes you cringe, then you are on the right path to financial freedom. The best way to understand how money works is to get uncomfortable with the idea of having a surplus of funds and to figure out ways in which money can work for you.
In order to achieve your goals, you need a budget, one that takes all of your expenses into account. From school supplies to groceries, setting and keeping up with a budget can help you cut costs and save more.
Your budget should start with a comprehensive look at your income and determine the best way to utilize that income on a monthly or weekly basis. Utilize the 50/20/30 rule, come up with your own framework, or plan a budget with an advisor.
Autopay and Bi-weekly Transfers
Once you’ve figured out your expenses and how much you have remaining at the end of each month, it is now time to pay yourself first and worry about the rest later. Now, this piece of advice may sound crazy, but to feel a sense of empowerment when it comes to saving, you must pay yourself first before giving the rest away.
What I mean by paying yourself first, is setting aside a certain amount to save each month and immediately having that amount pulled from your account once pay day arrives. I work well with even numbers, so I have $200 bi-weekly ($400/month) transferred from my checking account to another savings account that I have limited access to for reaching my goals.
You may not have the means to place aside that much money each month but do what you can and build up from there. The more you earn the more you should be saving, but if you are a newbie, start by saving $40 a month and then increase from there.
To avoid missing payments on important bills you can enroll in autopay. Autopay allows you to set up automatic payments for your bill using your credit or debit card. Once you sign up, each company will automatically charge your debit or credit card 2 days before your current plan expires. You will still receive an invoice via email detailing all charges and it’s easy to cancel if you decide to take other actions.
The purpose of autopay is to make it simple when paying bills. Instead of the hassle of budgeting each month, you automatically know how much is coming out of your pockets and you no longer worry about physically going into your account to withdraw money. Sometimes its best to not see your funds until you are confident enough about your saving habits. Out of sight, out of mind.
Saving Loose Change
So simple yet people miss this step when looking for ways to save money. By putting aside just 50¢ over a year will get you 40 percent of the way to a $500 emergency fund. And some banks and credit unions or apps offer programs that round all your purchases to the nearest dollar and put that money into separate savings account for you.
I have a jar in my house and for every dollar that I break, the change goes in there and stays! Of course, most of the coins are pennies, but you’d be amazed at how quickly that adds up over the course of two years.
If the above steps appear too frightening, try saving up loose change for a few months and see where that gets you.
What are some money saving habits that help you meet financial success?
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