If you’ve had your job for a couple of years and you still don’t have a single penny in your savings account, it’s time to reevaluate the way you spend.
Don’t be too hard on yourself, though. It can be challenging to figure out how to save money while having to cover your basic living expenses. This is even more challenging if you have a family to support. But just because it’s difficult doesn’t mean it’s impossible.
According to GOBankingRate’s annual savings survey in 2019, 69 percent of Americans have less than $1,000 in their savings account.
But by being smarter with the way you spend your salary, you can save a ton. Then, you can use your savings to pad your emergency fund, pay off your home loan, or finally get that luxurious vacation you’ve worked so hard for.
Below, we enumerate how to spend your money in smarter ways.
1. Budget your paycheck
Ask any financial expert and they’ll tell you how big of a help budgeting can be when it comes to saving money.
So the first thing you need to do is to go over your paycheck and see how much money you’re working with. Calculate your essential spending, including your rent or mortgage, utility, and necessities like food and clothes then deduct the amount from your salary.
From the amount left, you can properly budget payments for any loans and credit you may have, miscellaneous spending, and, of course, savings.
The trick here is finding a budgeting method that works for you because when you know where your money goes, it’s easier to see where you can cut costs and put more towards your savings.
2. Shop thoughtfully
Plenty of people shop impulsively, especially when they’re feeling intense emotions. But doing so often leads to spending decisions you’re likely to regret later.
In addition, the decision to go shopping for something, especially something that’s not exactly essential, can give you a shopping rush. It’s that feeling of excitement for spending on something that often makes you forget to shop thoughtfully.
Before handing over your credit card details, take your time and ensure that what you’re buying is worth it. Take this opportunity to comparison shop, too, so you can find the most affordable option to buy what you want.
3. Use technology to save money
Did you know that you can automate putting money towards your savings? When you set up a direct deposit to your savings account, a set amount from your paycheck goes straight to your savings every payday.
But this isn’t the only way technology can help. Using the right credit or debit card can also make managing your finances easier. Using a prepaid card, for example, can help you set a certain budget for yourself every day, week, or month so you don’t overspend.
4. Change up your usual choices
If you stop by Starbucks twice a day to get your daily dose of caffeine, stop and think for a moment: do you really need it or can you just make a cup for yourself? You can save yourself $5 a day on coffee, which equates to about $1,300 savings per year.
Cutting back on different areas of your everyday spending can help you save up for when you need the money the most.
Spending money is easy, but spending smart can be much harder. With the tips above, you can hopefully develop smarter spending habits and see your savings grow.