By Ann Sullivan
If you’re among the many who live paycheck to paycheck and struggle to make ends meet, you probably have a hard time saving money. If the thought of saving seems impossible, there are ways to get started that will not be so overwhelming. The point is, however, to get started! After all, having a cushion tucked away will give you peace of mind and security. It will also be necessary when you approach retirement age. It’s important to start now and don’t procrastinate. Here are nine ways that can help you get thinking along the right track to start saving money now!
1) Track Your Spending
The first step to saving money is knowing how much you spend weekly and monthly. Start where you are right now and make a list of your expenses. Begin with things that recur monthly, like rent or mortgage, insurance, phone, utilities, etc. Those are generally fixed amounts that fluctuate less frequently than other expenses. From there, look at what you spend on groceries, gas, and other necessities that may not be consistently the same amount. Take the average over a month’s time and put that on your list. From there, look at what your flexible spending purchase are. That’s those purchases that don’t happen with any certain regularity. It also includes impulse or splurge items. That will also give you an idea of where you can cut down or eliminate the expense and save the money instead.
2) Make a Budget
Once you have a list of your expenses, it will be much easier to create a budget. Take your total monthly income and deduct your fixed expenses. From there, take what you have left and allocate funds for necessities like gas and food. You can determine this amount by averaging what you spend and leave a little wiggle room for that possible fluctuation. It may take some months to get it down to a science, but keep working at it. This is especially true if you’re not a planner and not in the habit of budgeting. Also, cut yourself some slack if you slip up and spend on something you probably didn’t need. It’s okay to treat yourself occasionally – a reward for your hard work. Just don’t make a habit of it or you’ll blow your plan to save.