Saving money has allowed me to live life my way as a free spirit, even when my income wasn't that high. So hopefully these saving money tips will help you on your way, if saving hasn't been your strong point.
I'll tell you a little secret - before I started doing this myself, I found it hard to hold onto money. Even when I had more than enough in the bank, it just disappeared – it got spent somehow, and I guess it must have been by me.
Fast forward a few years when I understood the power of saving money - it was like magic! You'll find, like I did, that when you make the intention to start saving, you still have enough money for everything you need, but you'll have a growing savings account as well.
I found - and you may too - that it's quite addictive watching that balance grow.
We all have our own priorities, so you may change things round a little, but the following tips are a good guide to help you on your way...
The first thing you should do is open a savings account without delay and put some money into it. Nowadays you can do usually do this online.
I don’t care if it’s $20, $200 or $2000 – just do it! Then decide how much you will deposit each month, work it into your budget, set your deposits on automatic and forget it for now.
Now you can spend a little time working out: of all the things you could save for, which is going to get you where you want to be fastest, and which is going to make you feel most abundant and allow you the most freedom.
There are as many ‘right’ ways to save money as there are ways to spend it all instead. It really does depend on your current situation, your goals and what feels right to you. But as a rule it’s best to get some savings under your belt that will stop you worrying about running out of money for some reason, or not having enough to meet a large bill. As an example, this was my plan:
Living Expenses Emergency Fund. First save for a rainy day – initially build up enough to cover 3 months of your basic living expenses. Ideally you should eventually build that up to 6 months.
It's important to get this started as soon as possible. Having something to fall back on should the worst happen is paramount when building wealth, and it makes you feel more secure as well.
Big Ticket Funds. Once you have 3 months expenses saved, start to save for specific larger expenses such as school fees, car breakdowns, or vet bills. Anything that is likely to put a strain on your finances, when (or if) it happens.
Set up a separate savings account for each one. Even if you haven’t saved enough to cover the whole bill when it comes, it will still make it easier to pay.
If possible start one or more of these accounts while you're saving your 3 months living expenses fund - even if you're only putting smaller amounts away to start with - everything counts. It also builds your saving habit.
Lifestyle Fund. It’s important to have some fun and relaxation in your life, so when you feel ready you can start putting some money away to save for a holiday or a special day out, or even something smaller like a day at the spa with your friend.
The idea is that if you put just a little bit away every month you won’t notice it much, but after 3 months or a year (depending on the cost of what you’re saving for) you will have enough put aside to take some time off and regenerate the batteries.
If you can, put something in here as soon as possible, even if you can't do it every month. It will make you feel so abundant knowing you have even a little put away for a holiday or some relaxation time.
Future Fund. Lastly, start to save up to begin investing. Whether it’s stocks, property or anything else, this is the money that is going to work for you – not the other way around.
I started this fund when I received some unexpected money. I gradually started depositing money monthly and as other ‘funds’ got to the level I wanted, I used that money to go into this account instead.
Even the act of setting this up will give you a much more positive feeling around your finances, change the energy around your money situation and make you feel more prosperous. Why? Because now you can stop worrying about your current situation and focus on your future.
In other words, you can stop constantly thinking of 'not having enough' and start to direct your thoughts to being wealthy.
Once you’re saving money – think of it as untouchable! Allocate the money you'll save in your budget and set up an automatic transfer to your savings account each month. This way you don’t even have to think about it.
This money should be just as untouchable as money set aside to pay for your car, mortgage or rent.. Think about it, you can't just decide this month you’ll pay $400 less on your rent because you want to buy a new coffee machine. Well, the same goes for your savings… it cannot be touched!
To safeguard this, find a savings account that you have to put a call on your money before you can withdraw it - even if it's only a few days. Also choose an account where you cannot draw directly from the account with a card, but have to transfer into your current/check account.
Now, having said all that – once your situation improves slightly, there are reasons to make use of your savings if it is going to save you money. But rather than using your savings, you borrow it from yourself and you always pay yourself back - quickly.
(My disclaimer is – don’t do this if you cannot trust yourself to follow through with paying it back…)
I desperately needed a new lounge. I’d already saved 3 months income, and my perfect lounge appeared and was reduced by 30% for only 2 weeks! I didn’t have the cash and I didn’t want to use credit, so I borrowed it from myself.
Before I had even drawn the money out of my savings I worked out that I could afford a repayment scheme that would have it all paid back within 4 months.
Each month I deposited my ‘payment’ back into my savings account, as well as my normal savings deposit. It was a great feeling because I had my lounge, but I hadn’t sacrificed my savings account to have it or paid extortionate interest by using credit.
At this point you may feel that this is going to take forever, but you have to remember that firstly, you’re not in a race. And secondly, whilst it would be nice to have a full savings account by yesterday – reality is, it's not a quick fix, but a long-term strategy.
The immediate benefit will be how it makes you feel - when you know you have a stash of cash you'll feel a lot more freedom. that knowledge that you have a growing fund that will allow you to do the things you want to do has an amazing effect on your every day life.
The most important step here is getting into action. I know I've said this before, but - don’t wait until you have ‘enough’, start saving now, no matter HOW little you put away.
Whether you use these saving money tips or you have your own plan to follow, make sure you don't get stuck in the planning phase - start actually putting some money aside, no matter how small the amount.
Getting into the habit of saving money will be one of the best habits you can develop around money, and another important step in attaining the freedom your spirit craves...
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