For many of us, saving money is easier said than done. Even when we start making more money, we often still find ourselves broke and in debt. Why? Interestingly, studies have shown that being in debt actually has little to do with our paycheck and more to do with our willingness to adjust and our desire to save money or cut back.
Learning to save has probably been one of the most important skills I have developed in my life. It has really been the foundation for shaping my current reality as well what I encounter in the future. Here is an example. The career that I now have is a direct result from saving. I would not have the job that I have now and that I love if I didn’t get an education. The only way I was able to get an education was by paying for it. The only way I could pay for my education was by saving ahead of time. Having good saving habits is what has made me successful in all aspects of my life.
Why You Should Save
Many people believe that the ability to save money depends on what you income is. However, how much you earn is only part of it. Making more money doesn’t always mean you are debt free and able to save. In fact, without decent money management and saving strategies in place, your financial situation can be no different than earning a minimum wage income. Many people get into debt by personal choice. They simply choose to spend without thinking by buying things they don’t really need with money they don’t actually have. Learning to live below your means and saving is the only way to avoid this and be debt free.
How to Save
Focus on your monthly bills and evaluate the things that are important and the things that are not. It is easy to fall into temptation and spend money where we don’t need to. It is sometimes hard to break out our needs from our wants. Take time to really analyze yourself and your life and where you want it to go. This will help you determine the “must have’s” and the “things that can wait”. Think about what you really need to do or have to be safe, healthy, and happy.
Make sure to look after your basic needs such as food, shelter, and clothing, but also pay attention to the things you need for your mental health like time with friends, a yoga class, or a book club. Remember the only plan that will work is one that you can stick to. Once you have determined your needs, allocate money to those areas accordingly and monitor how well you do each month with sticking within those amounts.
Just like you make time to eat, sleep, and go to work, you also need to allocate time to your personal finances. My husband and I sit down once a week to review our finances including what we have spent in the last 7 days, our current budget, as well as discuss any future goals and savings plans. It works great at keeping us on track.
What to Save For
Now that you have reviewed your monthly bills and made some adjustments, you now have some extra money for savings. The question is though, what should you save it for? Well, here is a list of savings goals you should strive for so that your financial future is looked after:
- Save for emergencies: Unexpected things happen at the most unexpected times, and when this happens without notice, you have to have some extra cash around to deal with this. Using a portion of what you save every paycheck, put it towards an “emergency fund”. This fund is to help you in the case of a natural disaster, the loss of a job, or the loss of a family member. Look at it as your survival kit.
- Save for future expenses: If you are planning on buying a car or a house or anything else, save for it ahead of time. Put some money away each month so that when it comes to make that big purchase, you can pay cash for it. It is so rewarding to be able to buy something without incurring debt doing it. This also applies to vacations.
- Save for children: If you are planning on having children, start saving for them. There are a lot of expenses that come with a child that having a nest egg ahead of time can relieve a lot of stress. Start saving for their college education and other big items that they will need in the future.
- Save for retirement: There will be a point in your life where you will no longer want to work and want to retire. Make sure are you prepared for this change in income. If you don’t save ahead of time, it will be a shock when you stop working and you are no longer receiving a paycheck. Put a little aside each paycheck for retirement. With compounding interest, a little can really add up in the end.
Bottom Line: Saving money makes living your dreams possible. If it is your dream to own a house on the ocean near a rock face, then start saving now. Your dreams will never become reality if you don’t take the right steps to make them happen, the first step being saving. Time is ticking and the longer you wait to start saving, the longer it will take you to become financially stable and reach your dreams. So start saving now and use your money to reach your dreams.
Author Bio: Miss T blogs at Prairie EcoThrifter. She grew up in the Canadian prairies and still lives there today. She is passionate about saving money, being healthy, looking out for our environment, and most of all having fun. Her blog shares tips on how you too can live a green, debt free, and fun life.