Many of us intend to save money but don’t make a plan to ensure that we meet our goals. When several months pass and we still haven’t gotten our finances in check, we wonder what happened. Maybe the reason is that budgeting is intimidating, or we feel like if we can’t save a lot of money, we may as well not save any at all. Well, these five easy tips have banished all the stress from saving money.
Make it automatic
One of the easiest ways to save without even noticing is to set a monthly transfer of a certain amount from your checking account to your savings. Alternatively, you could ask your employer to divert a certain amount from your paycheck and direct deposit it into savings. It can be $10 each month or $1000, but the point is saving the money before you even see it and think of it as spendable!
Pay with cash
Most of us swipe our credit cards multiple times each day without keeping track of our purchases. It’s easy for the charges to add up without you noticing, and chances are, many of them are impulse buys you don’t really need. Soon you’re stressed and counting down the days to payday, and no one wants to be in that position. Try reserving your cards for emergencies and taking out the cash you need for the week every Sunday. You’ll be more conscious of your spending When it’s gone, it’s gone, and if there’s any left over at the end of the week, deposit it straight into savings! And on that note…
Keep the change
Loose change is one of the best ways to save up a little at a time. When you get thirteen cents back from your coffee order, all it does is weigh down your pockets or purse. But when you put the day’s change into a jar every night, it grows into something significant. When your jar fills up, take it to the bank and ask the teller to put it into your savings account. Change deposits feel like a gift because you almost always underestimate what they’ll add up to!
Over time, it’s easy to collect a lot of subscriptions and memberships without really noticing the bite they take out of your wallet. How many of us are signed up for Netflix and Hulu Plus but still pay for cable? Factor in Amazon Prime, an online and paper newspaper subscription, several magazine subscriptions, rewards programs with an annual fee and a gym membership, and you could be paying hundreds of dollars each month for these programs that supposedly save you money. Pick the ones that you honestly use the most: perhaps one video media subscription and a couple periodicals, and then slash the rest.
Put your food costs on a diet
You’ve heard that bringing your own lunch to work can save money, but it can also help you make more healthful meal choices. And don’t forget about snacks—planning ahead leads to fewer trips to the vending machine and more change for your piggy bank! Making your own coffee in the morning has tons of benefits, too. A $5 Starbucks drink every morning adds up to $150 each month – that’s $1800 every year for most of your adult life. And who knows? By limiting yourself to one latte a week you might even start feeling healthier, and who wouldn’t mind that?
Use these tips to simplify your spending and you can sit back and watch your savings account grow. Seeing money that seems to magically appear may be just the motivation you need to keep up the new good habits!