“Commit your actions to the Lord, and your plans will succeed.” (Proverbs 16:3, NLT)
“Pay yourself first.” That’s a popular piece of savings advice. You should be regularly saving at least 10% of your income. That may not seem realistic to you, but the good news is that you can do it! You just need to adjust a few of your habits—and your outlook.
You may feel that there’s no way you can save money. By the end of the month, your wallet is empty. How can you save when you barely have enough to cover bills?
This is a question you can answer with a little honest investigation. If you haven’t made a budget, that’s the first place to start. Budgets make dreams come true! Knowing where every dollar is going will help you feel more in control of your money. Track your expenses, every dollar you spend, for a week. Are there any surprises?
Your budget will help you find out where your “money leaks” are. Money leaks are the places where you may be spending unnecessarily. A money leak can be small (meals out, impulse buys) or big (too much house, too much car.) Even bank fees on your checking account can sap your savings, so be sure to shop around!
Tracking money leaks and stopping them will help you get a few dollars in the bank right away. Put the money you usually spend on lunches and coffee straight into savings and bring your own instead. If you have too many cars or too large a house for your needs, consider downsizing. Be honest about how much space or how new a car you really need. You can put the money you save on car or mortgage payments into savings or an IRA and let it grow.
Do you balance your bank statements and/or checkbook regularly? Keeping tabs on your cash with online bankingcan help. Online banking can also help you send money to your savings from every paycheck. You can pay your bills, track your budget, and send money with just a few clicks. And mobile banking means your closest branch is right in your pocket; you’ll always have access to your balances and budget.
Are you paying down debt? Building up some savings will help keep you from borrowing if something unexpected happens. While you’re paying down your debt, put at least a little into savings to help you stay debt-free for good.
If you get a raise or any unexpected bonus, put that money right into savings. You’re already living on what you make now. So resist the temptation to live a little larger on the extra money. Get frugal and get creative! Every dollar you save can add to your nest egg and help you achieve real financial freedom.
Even if you feel absolutely stretched to the limit in your budget, there may be a way to send a few dollars into savings. You can achieve your savings goals by putting your financial freedom first!
This article should not be considered legal, tax, or financial advice. You may wish to consult a tax or financial advisor about your individual financial situation.