With the help from our friends at William Paid, we have pulled together a few ideas to kick-start your saving habit. Yes, you heard us. Saving! Because if there’s one thing we’ve learned over the last couple of years, it’s the importance of managing our money better. Sadly, many of us have no idea how to even begin cutting back a bit and saving.
So, here are a few simple ideas to get you started:
- Set up a savings account if you don’t already have one. Just knowing that you have the account is an inspiration.
- Take a detailed look at your income and your spending for one month. It’s a pain, but also the only way to find the leaks at the bottom of your wallet. The income part used to be easy, you just looked at your paycheck stub, but no more. Now you may have a mix of internships and part time jobs, with maybe some help from the family, and money comes in dribs and drabs. You need to plan carefully what to spend and when, so that the rent money is safe. Pretty basic, right?
- Write down EVERYTHING you buy or spend money on for that month. You will be shocked at how those lattes and chais and beers with buddies add up. After you have tracked your monthly spending, make a realistic budget so you know where you need money and when. Then look hard for possible cash savings in each category of spending.
- Budget for the essentials first: rent, phone, internet, commuting, food plus any student loan or car loan payments. And while you are at it, pick up the phone and call all you service providers. Ask them if you’re getting the best available deal, or is there a cheaper option, for your cell phone? mobile package? digital TV? internet/ broadband? Shop around to find the best deal for you and don’t forget to also look into a prepaid phone option.
- Maximize your 401K savings if you are lucky enough to have a job that offers the benefit. In the least, put in enough to get the maximum company match.
- Set up a monthly transfer amount, equal to all the savings you find in your expenses, from your checking to your savings account.
- Pay your bills on time! Improving your creditworthiness is very important long term. Sites like WilliamPaid.com help you and your roommates to pay the rent online and on time, and they will even report your payment each month to a reputable credit bureau if you want them to.
- Avoid unnecessary debt. Pay for your everyday items with cash and only use your credit card when it gives you extra buyer’s protection or extends the warranty on big items (a TV, for example.) Then pay off the balance as soon as possible. If you are over your head with credit card debt, check here how to get out of it.
- This last tip is for those of you who think they have absolutely no free cash to start saving. Try this.Every evening, empty all the change from your pockets, purse and wallet into a piggy bank, a bowl or an old mayo jar. Once a month take that bounty to your bank and deposit to your savings account. You’ll might pleasantly surprised!