Have you heard the saying, “Fail to plan, plan to fail?” I found this to be true in my own life. So, do you have a money plan? “Most Americans are saving far too little, and not having savings makes you vulnerable to going into debt for emergency expenses or ending up with too little money to support you during retirement.” [The Motley Fool: https://www.fool.com/retirement/2018/08/05/5-simple-tricks-for-saving-more-money.aspx] Dave Ramsey says, “Imagine if you had $1,000 cash in your hand, ready to pay for that unexpected event.”
The first step and a key step is to create a habit. Yes, I did say habit. Start saving a little every month, say, $10, from each pay check. That’s $20 a month if you get paid twice a month. Can you set up direct deposit of $10 from your paycheck into your savings? Check with your payroll office to see if you can do that. Or, set up your bank account to automatically transfer $20 monthly from checking to savings. Easy peasy, right? Keep it up until you don’t have to think about it or remember to do it. It will be as automatic as breathing. The key is to start!
Congratulations! You’ve now started saving for emergencies! If you’re already saving, increase the amount that you save, say, by 5% or double the amount that you’re currently saving. You should be saving around 10% of your paycheck monthly for emergencies and the goal is to save between three and six months of pay for emergencies. For example, if you earn $1,000 a month, you should save between $3,000 and $6,000 for emergencies.
I have no money to save:
Ah, but you’re saying, “Right! How can I save when I have no money?” I know what you mean. I’ve been there. So…here’s what you can do. The Motley Fool suggests making a game of it by challenging your spouse, partner or friend to who can have more no-spending days. The amount that you didn’t spend should be plopped into your savings account. For example, if you would have bought a latte and bagel today from Starbucks, put that amount into your savings. I challenge you. How many no-spending days can you do? Increase your no-spending days and see how much you save.
I did say make this fun, so, you can still have your favorite beverage and bite to eat. Simply planning your day will lead to a successful day. How about making
your favorite beverage at home and buying your favorite bite to eat from the market? What can you prepare the night before? Beverage makers can be timed so your drink is ready to go when you head out the door. Get one that works for your schedule. Toast your treat while you’re getting dressed for work. See how much you save by making your beverage and bite to eat at home. Do the same with lunch. Instead of buying lunch daily that costs between $10 and $20, bring lunch from home. There are many great options available. From my local Natural Grocers, I buy a container of mixed greens, a pack of cherry tomatoes, my favorite dressing, and a container of my favorite grilled chicken. I have lunch for the week and I spent around $3 to $4 per meal instead of $10 to $12. I saved $7 to $8 per meal and put that into my savings! Share your plan with us! Forbes’s article, 35 Realistic Ways to Save Money Starting Now, gives other great ideas for saving. Let’s plan for success.
Create a Money Plan:
The next step, and an important step, is to create a money plan, or what’s called a budget. Oh no, did I say a dirty word!? Budget gets a bad rap, but it’s really a tool for success. It doesn’t have to be a hard thing to do. Simply, a budget is income minus expenses. If you spent all your paycheck before you receive your next one, you’re in deep trouble.
What a money plan allows you to do is see where you’re spending. You can tweak areas where you’re overspending. There are many budgeting apps out there. Check out the Forbes 15 Powerful Money Apps. I use Mint and love it. Choose the app that works best for you. If you want a worksheet that you can work on and save to your computer, the Consumer.gov Make a Budget worksheet is a fairly simple, but good one that you can use. The links to both the apps article and the worksheet are located in my show notes. Create another good habit–budgeting monthly. Share with us what you’re doing and tell us what’s working and what’s not. How did you fix what’s not working?
So, how are you going to plan to fail or to succeed.
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