Saving money has never been an easy task. In fact, it is now more challenging than ever with all the modern-day distractions that surround us. You probably know some influencers that fly out every other weekend to a very picturesque destination. You likely have a co-worker acquiring new gadgets regularly, and maybe that friend whose favorite hobby is restaurant hopping.
It may look like a dream life …but is it doing any justice to your financial future?
Without discipline, it becomes difficult to save money even when we’re fully aware of how life-changing it can be.
Saving money can help you create a comfortable retirement, make big purchases such as a car or a house, build a robust emergency fund, or quickly repay debts.
Are you looking for inspiration to help keep your money in your pocket to help you achieve your dreams?
These 15 saving habits are sure to help you progress in your financial journey.
1. Create a Budget
Failing to create a budget is the first step to spending every cent you earn and even more without knowing it.
If you want to establish a solid financial foundation, start by creating a relevant budget to help direct your earning, spending, saving, and investing.
If the budget is well created, you will be able to visualize how much goes to different expenses and come up with ways to reduce the expenses.
Being able to spot room for improvement allows you to save more money.
Create your monthly budget today to be able to track your expenses easily and enhance your chances of keeping more money aside for your financial goals.
2. Pay Yourself First
Always allocate a set portion of your earnings to your savings first before spending the rest on anything else.
According to Bankrate, 20% of your earnings should automatically go into savings. The moment your paycheck gets to your account, you first want to take the 20% and transfer it into your savings account.
You can then spend the rest on paying rent, loans, groceries, entertainment, and other expenses.
Taking the other way around often ends up splashing the money and not saving a coin. This is why you need to save first, to avoid the temptation.
3. Set Financial Goals
Why are you saving money? Always establish why you put your money aside to avoid straying from the endgame plan.
Are you saving to buy your dream house in 5 years? Or a car in a year? Are you saving more for a comfortable retirement?
Saving with no financial goals often ends up in disaster. For instance, you have been putting 20% of your earnings aside with no goal; then you learn that your friends are planning a trip to an expensive destination. You will likely decide to join using the money you have been saving.
While there is no harm in joining your friends on a trip, it is certainly not what you want to do if it is not in your plans.
Simply put, setting and sticking to financial goals helps you learn to stand for something and not fall for everything.
4. Track Your Expenses
Tracking your expenses helps you understand where your money goes, and most importantly, it helps you figure out how effective your budget is.
Start tracking every coin you spend on varied expenses to know your daily, weekly, and monthly averages. With these figures in mind, you can easily spot loopholes, especially when you have days, weeks, or months where expenses go overboard.
This way, you can know how better to allocate your finances in the updated budgets.
5. Automate Savings
Automating savings ensures you save money before spending it. There is always a temptation to spend money and save what remains. Unfortunately, this strategy almost always fails because people spend all their earnings and save nothing.
Avoid the temptations involved when it comes to saving money. Automate your savings and get the manual part of it out of your way. This way, when your earnings get into your checking account, your chosen amount of savings will automatically be transferred to your savings account.
This is one effortless way to ensure you save money from every paycheck you receive.
6. Reduce Discretionary Spending
Cutting non-essentials from your expenses can help you put more money towards your financial goals.
Do you need that daily Starbucks you get? A study by The CommonsCafe found that the average American spends $3000 yearly on Starbucks.
What about the clothes you buy monthly? Do you need them? According to FinMasters, you could save $161 if you stopped getting new clothes every other month.
Some discretionary expenses you could reduce or eliminate to save money include vacation and travel, alcohol and tobacco, automobiles, entertainment-related expenses, and dining out.
These take up a massive chunk of your earnings, yet you could do comfortably without them. Find cheap alternatives, reduce their usage, or eliminate them altogether.
7. Use Coupons and Discounts
Take advantage of coupons and discounts to save money. Whether shopping in-store or on the internet, there is almost always a chance to use coupons to cut a few bucks off your check-out totals.
Take the coupons issued in-store, mailboxes, newspapers, and grocery stores’ websites.
Check out using the coupons and discounts you collected to save money.
Saving money does not always have to involve significant lifestyle changes. This is one of the simple things you can do to save money every time you go shopping, whether it is groceries, clothes, or books.
8. Avoid Impulse Purchases
An article published on Wall Street Mojo revealed that impulse purchases account for 40%-80% of all purchases.
One mistake people make is imagining that impulse purchases only involve gadgets, clothes, and shoes.
It involves small purchases such as $10 drinks and snacks people get daily. These may seem like nothing, but if you did not plan for them, or you’re just buying them in the heat of the moment, they are impulse purchases that quickly add up.
Take time to think over everything you buy. Ensure it is something you planned and budgeted for.
9. Cut Unnecessary Subscriptions
A post on MNTN disclosed that the average American pays for four streaming services. While their total may still be cheaper than paying for cable TV, it still does not make sense to have 4 of them. Chances are high that 2 or 1 of them will rarely be used.
This is just one of the examples of unnecessary subscriptions people get and do not use.
Others include gym memberships for people who do not work out daily, free shipping services, online magazines and newspapers, meal kit plans and music services.
Let it go and save money if you can do without it.
10. Build an Emergency Fund
Not having an emergency fund sets you up for some financial blunders.
When something unexpected happens, having an emergency fund could cushion you financially.
However, without an emergency fund, you may have to dip into your savings or get into bad debt to cushion yourself.
Experts recommend having an emergency fund big enough to cover 3-6 months of your expenses.
A survey done by the Federal Reserve revealed that 40% of American households could not cover a $400 emergency. Not being able to cater for such costs often results in a quicker escalation of the problem.
It may mean taking payday loans, putting the emergency on credit cards to be paid overtime, or selling something essential at a throwaway price to get the money to sort out the emergency. All these may get you into a cycle of financial problems you could have avoided by creating an emergency fund.
11. Invest Wisely
You can invest in many ways to create a financially secure future for yourself.
You first have to start by educating yourself about the different investment options.
Analyze the risks involved and decide whether it matches your long-term goals. Decide whether you are going for something more active, such as trading, or passive investment, such as stocks. You can manage your investment accounts or seek help as you learn the ropes.
If in doubt, you may want to use the services of more knowledgeable people or financial advisors.
12. Diversify Your Investments
Diversifying your investment is a great way to enhance your financial safety for your future. It involves spreading your assets across stocks, bonds, mutual funds, real estate, and other investment options.
Putting all your assets under a single account is a risky affair. If it performs poorly or largely depreciates, your entire portfolio will have a significant negative impact.
However, you will still be on the safe side and even continue to make profits if you diversify your portfolio. It may be stressful to see one of your assets lose value, but it won’t be as bad if you have other assets elsewhere doing well.
13. Review and Adjust Your Budget Regularly
A budget that worked well for you last month may not work well this month. You may now earn more, have different financial goals, or have different expenses. This is why you need to adjust your budget to reflect your new lifestyle regularly.
Besides, if you track your expenses well, you can gauge how effective your budget is. This way, you can deduce whether you overspent in some areas. You can then craft ways to curb the overspending.
Lastly, budget reviews are great for financial progress tracking. You want to review how well the budget helped you achieve your short-term goals and how well you can adapt it to achieve your new goals.
14. Maximize Employer Retirement Contributions
Maximizing your employer’s retirement contributions is a savvy financial strategy that can significantly enhance your financial security in retirement. It entails taking full advantage of the retirement benefits provided by your employer, typically through plans like a 401(k) or a similar retirement savings account.
By maximizing these plans and contributing to the maximum extent allowed, you’re effectively supercharging your retirement savings with the help of your employer. Many employers offer matching contributions, where they contribute a certain percentage of your salary to your retirement account based on your contributions.
This means you can add money to your retirement savings without relying solely on your contributions. It’s like a bonus from your employer for your future financial well-being.
Doing so helps you boost your retirement fund, which is a great way to enhance your quality of life in retirement.
15. Live Below Your Means
Living below your means is a fundamental principle of achieving financial stability in the future. First, you cannot build your savings and investments if you live beyond your means; you’ll have nothing left after splashing all your money. With no savings and investments, you may not be able to handle emergencies whenever they come up. You also may have to work even in your old age because living beyond your means typically translates to living from paycheck to paycheck.
If you want financial peace of mind, create a budget that lets you live below your means. Learn to save, invest, and stick to the budget you have created. It will go a long way in helping you avoid debt and enhancing your quality of life.
15 Saving Habits
Developing saving discipline is one of the crucial aspects you need to achieve a financially secure future. It may involve making minor life adjustments or taking bigger and sometimes riskier steps to achieve your desired life.
These 15 saving habits, when practiced diligently, not only provide a safety net for unexpected expenses but also set the stage for long-term financial stability and growth. They will help you get past your bad debt, save for an emergency fund, create a comfortable retirement, invest for a passive income, and, most importantly, aim for even bigger goals. Embrace them today for a more secure future.
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This article was produced and syndicated by A Dime Saved.