Money doesn’t buy happiness, but it can bring a sense of security to your life. Have you ever been in a place where you couldn’t make ends meet? When you feel like you’re living paycheck to paycheck? I have, and it’s a really scary, stressful place to be.
That’s why I love having savings.
I first learned to save when I got out of college. I was broke and had to cut corners to make it. Actually, for a while I couldn’t even save, it was just a matter of surviving on my entry-level salary in an expensive city. But soon I got my budget under control and realized that I was able to actually save for things I wanted. And I don’t think I could go back. Knowing I have money in the bank for emergencies makes me feel so much more at ease when those unexpected events occur. And friends? They always do. The only thing you can expect to happen in life is the unexpected.
Starting to save can be a daunting task. You want to have thousands of dollars in the bank, but where to begin? Here are five simple ways that helped me when I first started the process.
1. Make a budget, and spend in cash.
Your budget is your monthly guide to how you will spend your money before the month begins. And you really can’t save without sticking to it. One of the easiest ways to ensure you don’t go over your budget each month is to spend in cash. The thing about cash is when it’s gone, it’s gone. It also creates an emotional connection that credit or debit cards just don’t give you. When you hand over dollar bills, it hurts a little more than just a little piece of plastic and you can tangibly see how much you have left for the month.
2. Pay yourself first
As soon as you get your paycheck, put 10% in your savings account. No excuses! Just pretend like you have only 90% of your paycheck to spend each month. Set it up in your bank account to automatically transfer at the first of the month. This is one of the most influential lessons of discipline for me, and it is exciting to see your savings increase over time. If 10% is too much, start smaller with 5% or 8%. It’s more important to get into the habit than to start really big.
3. Go on a monthly spending fast
What is your biggest spending temptation? Clothes? Dining out? Home decor? Go on a fast for a month and don’t spend any money in that discretionary category. Start in February! It’s the shortest month, so it isn’t too much to ask!
4. Cut the cord
One way to save money each month is on cable. Do you really need 178 channels? Nope, you don’t. Most of the TV shows on today replay online and with a little $3 HDMI cable, you’re able to connect your computer to the big screen to watch it like normal. Also, start thinking of your bills on a yearly basis. Cable may cost just $100 a month, but that’s $1,200 a year just to watch TV!
5. Sell your stuff
Everyone has stuff laying around in their house that they don’t use anymore. These days it’s easier than ever to sell, whether it’s furniture on Craigslist, jewelry at gold stores, or for shopaholics, open up a store on ShopEnvy to sell your clothes and accessories. You can make some serious money selling stuff, plus it’s so liberating getting rid of the clutter in your home.
I’d love to know, what are some of the ways you save each month?