Do you wish you could save? Have you given up? Do you just find it too hard and are not sure where to start? Well I have good news, it is not that hard and you can do it! It is not so much about how much you make as it is about how you control your spending. You need to start small and in no time you will see your progress. Here is how to start saving money in 3 easy steps:
1. DON’T SPEND MORE THAN YOU MAKE!
I know it sounds very basic but most of us do spend more than we make, mostly thanks to Credit Cards! If you spend money using your credit card, always make sure you have the equivalent amount in your bank account. You need to be able to pay it off before it is due. Overdue credit card balances will just keep building up because of the high interest rate (19 %+) so pay the balance due each month. Only buy what you can afford ALWAYS. This applies to house and car purchases also (we will cover this in more detail in a future post) If you just can’t help yourself and use your credit card even when you really shouldn’t, then just cut it up! Or leave it at home whenever you go shopping.
Credit cards can be good for their rewards as long as you pay off the full balance each month. If you can’t control your shopping habits then don’t keep the card.
2. ONLY SHOP WHEN YOU NEED TO.
This is critical, mostly for shopaholic! I am not one of them and I am usually pretty good with my purchases but if I go to a mall, even if I don’t need anything, I will probably spend money. Usually it is the sales or clearance that will get me to spend on things I don’t really need. Not all sales are bad but most of the time you really didn’t need that extra sweater, did you? So whenever you need anything ( Needs vs. Wants ) make a list, go to the store and don’t get distracted in the aisles, just buy what you came for. Stick to your list. I know easier said than done!
If you love shopping, leave your money at home or just take whatever cash you are willing to spend. DO NOT BRING YOUR CREDIT CARD.
3. PAY YOURSELF FIRST AND START NOW!
“But I can barely make ends meet, how can I start saving?”. First you need to start small so you don’t get overwhelmed. Make your savings the first bill you have to pay (paying yourself), not just whatever is left over after all other bills have been paid. This is critical (so I am repeating), make it the first thing you have to pay. Start paying yourself $5, $10 or 20/pay, up to 10% of your pay if you can. It means you may have to skip one latte per week, a pack of cigarette every two weeks or bring your own lunch to work!
Make sure you set it up to be automatic so you don’t even see that money. I recommend you set up a simple savings account (no fee) for now. You can set up automatic transfer from your chequing to your saving’s account on each pay-day (bi-weekly or monthly). Automatic transfers are easy to set up on-line but talk to your bank teller if you don’t know how to do it. You could also try to set up the transfer directly from your pay, check with your employer to see if you have the option to do a second deposit when you get paid.
Start small and whatever you do, don’t stop and don’t use that money. Just remember, if you had bought something with it, it wouldn’t be saved in the first place!
Start SAVING MONEY today!