Saving money is critical. It could mean an early retirement for you, a chance to go on REALLY expensive trips/vacations every year, it can prevent you from having to use your credit card or borrow money to purchase expensive items or whenever you have an emergency. Whatever your motive or reason may be to save cash, you might want to listen to the following few ways to save some green.
Before we begin, I'll say this, I don't appreciate or like it when finance experts say you must cut back on spending to save money. You can only cut back on so much that it then becomes a chore and you feel miserable. Psychologically, you can't do it either. If you need a fix of coffee and a donut or any breakfast item every morning from 7/11, Starbucks, etc. and suddenly cut it out of your budget completely (cold turkey) you'd have a constant battle with yourself on a daily basis and fight your strong temptations to not purchase coffee or a donut. I say, indulge in those cravings and treats, but become more self-aware of where you're spending your money on things that have no meaning to you. An area where you need to ACTUALLY cut back on. For example, having a gym membership that charges you monthly, that you don't use, is a service you can cut back on because you don't use it. No harm in doing so. Cutting back from your daily visit at Chipotle, even though you love Chipotle, is mentally exhausting and is not worth the daily battles you have with yourself.
If we visit this old article I wrote about a month ago on how I spent PLENTY of my money on Chipotle, 7/11, and Barnes and Noble I jokingly and exaggerated by saying "it placed a dent in my finances" when in reality I was completely aware of where this cash was going and was OKAY with it since it went towards something I enjoyed! I want to bestow you that self-awareness to you.
1. Automate your savings
I'm so frustrated because some finance mogul once said "automation in your personal finances is a ticket to becoming rich" something along the lines of that, and it seriously resonates. Alas, I can't recall who said it, which is frustrating, nonetheless, he's right. (It might have been Ray Dalio?) Anyway, the moment/day you get paid, immediately have a percentage of your check go into your savings account. Most banks have an automatic transfer setting. That way, you save time from doing it manually, saving you from the heartache you have when you place aside cash you can't use now, but will later. After a while, you seem to forget about the cash you're storing away, making you feel accustomed to the money that is left to spend AFTER savings. Always remember to pick a percentage that is comfortable and reasonable for you and your budget. Personally, at the end of every month, I send a certain percentage of my cash into my E*Trade and TD Ameritrade brokerage account and bi-weekly send a percentage of my check into a Capital One 360 savings account.
2. Have your saved money in a completely different bank account
In order to avoid transferring money from your savings account and into your checking and later spending it (following it with regret and guilt) have your checking account separate from your savings account. Even if it means having two different bank accounts. If you are taking the approach of having two separate bank accounts, I'd suggest you sign up for an online savings account. They normally offer a great interest rate compared to brick and mortar banks.
3. Have a savings goal
Have a reason as to why you're saving money and the amount of money you'll need for your purchase or activity. Don't just save money for the sake of it. If you want to take a week off from work and go to Hawaii, figure out how much plane tickets, hotel, food, and transportation costs for that week and devise a plan on how much cash you'll place aside until the day of your vacation. Having a goal makes you focused on the prize whatever it may be.
4. Negotiate your bills
Call up your internet, phone, credit card, cable, insurance, landlord or any product/service provider you use and ask to lower your monthly bill. Don't just call them straight up and say "hey, lower this fee for me" the company will laugh at you and hang up. Give them an incentive, give them a reason to make them realize that you're this phenomenal customer that would like a bit of help. While negotiating, be confident, but don't come off as aggressive, and be nice.
5. Pay off in large sums any high-interest debt
This one is vital, as compound interest is working against you. The bigger deposits you make now on your loans and credit card bills, the less you'll pay in interest in the future. Saving yourself money in the future. You might not notice it now, but doing the math you realize that you're lifting this large burden that can potentially bite you in the future.
6. Raises and bonuses should be placed aside
While it's cool to receive a raise at your job or money as a gift, it's in your best intention to place it to the side and save it. Not saying that you shouldn't go out and not celebrate the raised you received. By all means, do so, you deserve it. Just be wary of where you place your extra income.
If all 6 steps are followed, then you shall become a certified money saver and will be ready for any emergency, fund numerous fun trips, and retire early. Comment below any other way you save money that wasn't mentioned here.