Your guide to saving money: budgeting tips and more.
As many people already know from experience, saving money has become increasingly difficult over recent years, with many of us having to cope with overstretched finances stemming from higher living costs, economic uncertainty and other factors. However, in some cases it is possible for people to save money, even if it is just a small amount at a time, simply by looking more carefully at their income and outgoings and making cutbacks on unnecessary spending and outgoings.
Some people make the mistake of assuming that just because they only have a very small amount of money to put aside into savings, it is not worth putting it away at all. However, this is the wrong way of thinking, as small, regular amounts of money put into savings can add up to a generous nest egg over time, so no matter how small the spare amount of cash you have it can still benefit you if you put it into a savings account.
Saving money is something that can prove invaluable to you in the future – and it is something that you should also try and teach your kids about, as the earlier they learn about the importance of saving the more successful they are likely to be in the future regarding putting money aside rather than frittering it away.
Finding money to put aside in savings
No matter how much our income increases over time, we always seem to find ways to spend the additional money we earn. Of course, some of it gets eaten up by the rising cost of living, so as our income increases so do our outgoings. However, many of us are also guilty of frittering more money away when we earn more, often on things that we do not need. In fact, sometimes we do not even realise that our spending has increased in line with our income.
With this in mind, there are probably many people who spend a significant amount of money each month on a range of non-essentials and many may not even realise how much they are spending. Assessing your income and your outgoings thoroughly will help you to see just where your money is going each month and will also make it easier for you to make changes and cutbacks to claw back some of the money you spend so that you have a little spare cash to put aside into savings.
Many people are surprised to find just how much money they can salvage each month simply by spending a little more time looking at their income and their outgoings and making a few small cutbacks on their spending. Even cutting back $5 here and there can add up to a nice amount to put into savings each month and you can then enjoy watching your money grow rather than watching it vanish without a trace every month!
There are many different areas in which you can make these cutbacks in order to have a little more money to put into savings. For example, if you tend to put aside a certain amount of money for going out each month, reduce that amount by $10 or $20. If you pay for costly subscriptions that you no longer need or use, such as magazines or gym memberships, be proactive and get them cancelled rather than wasting money on them when you don't really use them any longer. You can even look at switching services such as utilities and broadband to a cheaper provider in order to reduce your outgoings and have more cash to save.
Set goals to help you save
For many people, finding the motivation to save can be hard work. If you have nothing to look forward to and no clear goal to aim for, you are more likely to feel that putting money aside into savings is a pointless exercise. By setting yourself goals, you can increase your chances of feeling motivated enough to put money aside, as you will have something to aim for.
When setting goals to help you to save it is often a good idea to start with small goals to get you into the habit of saving money. You will find that when you get into the habit of saving money, it will come more naturally and easily to you, so putting your money aside rather than blowing it will become far less of a problem.
To start with, you could set goals such as saving up for a short break or holiday, which means that you will have something to look forward to. This will help to keep you motivated and if you know you have a holiday waiting for you once you have saved the required amount of money you will feel far more inclined to look for ways to save money and to ensure that you do put your spare cash aside. Whether you decide to save towards a holiday or whether you choose something else for you initial goals, the best way to save money towards it is to follow these steps:
- Work out how much the thing you want to save towards is going to cost
- Take a look at your finances to see how much spare cash you could realistically put aside each month or week depending on how you get paid
- Set up a suitable savings account if you do not already have one
- Consider setting up direct payments from your bank account for the amount that you can afford to be transferred directly to your savings each week/month
Once you have got used to setting small goals and achieving them by saving up, you can then start to look at bigger things. This could be anything from saving towards buying a new car to saving towards a deposit to put down on a house. Because you will have become more used to saving from having set smaller goals to start with, you will find that it becomes easier to start saving towards larger goals.
Finding the right savings account
In order to make sure your money works for you, it is advisable to look for the most suitable savings account. There are many different savings accounts available, some of which offer instant access and can be opened with very little money and others that require notice for withdrawals and require larger opening deposits.
When you first start off with your savings, you should be fine with a basic savings account, especially if you are only putting small amounts in and you are planning to withdraw it once it hits a certain level. However, as you become more used to saving and find ways to put aside more money, you may want to consider a more suitable savings account that offers more by way of returns.
You can compare savings accounts from a wide range of financial institutions online, which makes it easier to compare the features of the various accounts such as the rate of interest offered on your money, the withdrawal requirements and the minimum or maximum deposits if applicable. Remember, once you start saving larger amounts of cash you can really make your money work for you simply by choosing the right account, such as a high interest account. This enables you to make money on your savings by doing nothing other than putting it into the account and leaving it there for as long as you can. If you do find a suitable savings account, avoid becoming complacent. Keeping an eye on the savings account market is a very good idea, as you may find that a better deal on savings comes along, so you may be able to transfer your savings to an even better account and make even more interest on your cash.
Teaching your kids about the importance of saving
After the turmoil of the past few years, it has never been so important for consumers to not only develop good financial sense themselves but also pass this on to their children so that the next generation is less likely to fall into the same financial pitfalls. Even if your kids are relatively young, it is still worth teaching them the importance of saving – in fact, it is easier to do this when they are younger, as they are less likely to want to spend their pocket money on material things and you can make saving fun for them by turning it into a game or competition.
Teaching your kids about the importance of putting money aside means that they are more likely to grow up with good financial sense and will already be in the habit of saving for the things that they want and putting money aside rather than spending it as soon as they get it. This will prove invaluable to them throughout their lives and could ultimately help them to achieve more goals in life and avoid issues such as being burdened with debt.