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Living From One Check To The Next And Need To Save Money? Easy Tips To Get You Started
Are you living paycheck to paycheck like over 50% of all Americans? Do you feel like you only have enough money to pay your bills, take care of a few essentials and maybe go out and have a little fun? Saving money seems like a wonderful idea, but it’s just not the right thing to save. It means you may want to reevaluate your budget or spending. Planning makes saving easier. Let’s look at some ideas that can help you manage your money.
- Here’s a quick and easy tip to get you started. Maybe you wrote a budget and found it was negative every month. Loose change is king. Don’t hate all those coins in your pockets or at the bottom of your wallet. Turn loose change into a nice savings plan. Get a large jar or can and deposit all loose change each day. Make sure you hide the can so the money in it doesn’t turn into pop and chip money.
- Set a goal of about $1.50 a day or the cost of 1 soft drink which is $45.00 a month. If this is too much, cut it and start with just $25 a month, which is just .83 cents a day. Don’t be afraid to push yourself. This money is for you. Consider having the money deducted directly from your checking or bank account. Make these payments to the savings account automatic. By automating your payments you will be consistent and you will not be tempted to spend it.
- Open a savings account that is not easily accessible. If the goal is to save money, it cannot be in an account with a Debit Card or ATM access. This allows the account time to grow before you pinch it.
- Try not to use a Debit Card. Use cash only. Debit cards give you a false sense of security and often cause you to overspend.
- Reduce the number of times you eat out. Track the dollars spent each month eating out. If you normally spend $300.00 a month on food try spending $200.00 a month and take the extra $100.00 and open a savings account.
- Finally, create a budget. I know it sounds old fashioned and boring but it works! I asked a friend to help me with this example. I asked her how much she pays monthly in bills, she said “a lot”. I asked her if she could save $150.00 a month and she said it was only possible on a budget.
A Real Life Example
My friend’s name is Beverly. She is a single mother of a handsome 14-year-old boy. She lives in a 2-bedroom apartment, drives a 2005 Ford Focus and has a supportive x-husband who actively provides financial and emotional support. Her son is a typical young adult who loves sports. His favorite sports are Basketball and Golf. Here’s how we got her to save $150.00 a month
Beverly earns about 50,000 a year before taxes and receives about $5000 a year in child support. Let’s look at her bills and see if we can reach our goal of saving $150.00 a month.
Beverly saves 5% of her gross earnings through her jobs 401k plan. Her monthly bills equal $2647.00 before her savings goal of $150.00 per month with her savings factored into the total monthly bills she spends is $2747.00. Her bill breakdown is below. Beverly brings home $3246.00 per month. This number includes $400.00 per month from her Ex-Husband and $1423 paid twice a month from her job. This leaves Beverly with $499 a month to enjoy. Another way to look at this is Beverly can spend $116.43 a week on anything she wants.
Here are Beverly’s Monthly Expenses:
- $965.00 – Rent
- $50.00 Electricity
- $60.00 Phone
- $75.00 Cable
- $89.00 Cell phone
- $100.00 a month in gas for her car
- $80.00 laundry and dry cleaning
- $300.00 per month for groceries
- $336.00 car note
- $67.00 car insurance
- $100.00 credit cards
- $100.00 a month for fun money
- $275.00 per month tithes and offerings
- $150.00 monthly savings goal
Create a budget by understanding where your money is spent each month and how much is left over to use for fun. This should take less than 30 minutes. Don’t skip any monthly bills. Using a budget is the most effective way to save money.
If you happen to spend all the money you saved, don’t dwell on it. Get started right away. In time you will be very proud of the results.
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