If saving money is on your mind, you are off to a better start than many people. However, in my experience most people are disappointed with the amount of progress they have made as well as their outlook on the future. You know that saving any amount of money is good, but you also realize that the more cash you sock away the better off you are going to be in the long run.
Here is the million-dollar question: how can I save money as a means of reaching my savings related goals? Experts agree that there are multiple strategies that can result in big gains, if properly employed.
Any change to your financial approach will likely shock your system at first. Learning how to save more money is easy once you have the knowledge and tools. Over time you will become comfortable with these changes, and eventually settle in with your new approach.
Here are five simple ways to save money:
1, Break down your income and expenses
This is vital so that you know exactly where you stand. No matter how much you are saving every month, you need to know exactly what is going on with your financial situation.
How much money are you bringing? How much are you spending? How much are you saving? Once you answer these three questions your financial future will be clearer.
Don't think you can adjust your monthly budget to save even more? You may be fooling yourself. Money Saving Pro gives you 10 ways of doing so here, which include reducing utility costs, looking into how much you're paying on credit card interest, and refinancing your home if that's an option for you.
2, Know your goals
You don't want to simply set the goal of saving more money. You want to set more specific short and long term goals as this will help you stay the course and work towards something with each passing day.
A good example of a long term goal could be to save enough money to payoff your mortgage, student loans, or some other kind of debt. This gives you a number to strive for, as well as plenty of encouragement along the way.
Inc.com has a great piece about setting financial goals to achieve future success, which helps you map out short- and long-term savings strategies.
3, Stretch to save just a little bit more
Could you eat out less every month? Could you cut a little bit of money from your monthly entertainment budget? Remember, a small amount of savings here and there can really add up.
Imagine this: you save an extra $150/month by eating at home more often and not going to the movies every weekend. This may be a big change and it will initially feel like you are not saving that much, but over time you will find that big things are happening. Over the course of a year, you will have saved another $1,800. And don't worry, you won't be starving or bored when everything is said and done. You will find cheaper alternatives to eating out and going to the movies.
4, Turn it into a game
Almost everyone can agree that spending is more exciting than saving. To fight against this, you should turn your savings strategy into a game.
For example, try to see how much money you can save every week with the idea of always increasing the total. A simple game like this will keep you more involved with your savings plan while ensuring that you don't get bored along the way. Another option is to get creative. When you think of creative ways to save money, you're more likely to continue the process and enjoy doing it.
5, Reward yourself
If you do nothing but save your money it can get boring at some point. There is no denying this. You can protect against this by rewarding yourself for reaching small goals. This could be anything from a night out on the town with a loved one to a weekend road trip.
Any reward that will keep you on track is one to consider. Just remember that you have to be reasonable. You don't want to blow all your progress rewarding yourself.
If saving money is good, saving more is even better. With the tools in hand, you should be able to employ these simple ways to save money and reach all your financial goals right away.