Top Ways to Start Saving in the New Year
Top Ways to Start Saving in the New Year
If you are living paycheck to paycheck you are not alone. Nearly 78% of Americans are right there with you, according to a CareerBuilder survey.
However, there are choices you can make to keep your bank account on track and keep your budget from becoming a burden. It is time to break your bad financial habits and make a real goal of financial freedom.
Track Your Spending
First and foremost, it is incredibly difficult to know where you are financially if you do not track your spending. Yes, this sounds tedious and maybe a little scary, but generally people who are financially free know exactly what they spend their money on. Gone are the days for most people of filling out a check register and that meticulous balancing act. Now, it is so easy to just ignore the online access to your bank account and pretend it is not close to being overdrawn.
Lucky for you, companies have developed their own approach to tracking expenses. While you can still do it the old fashioned way with a pen and paper, here are some budgeting and tracking apps to try:
Pay Yourself First
This might seems like a foreign concept, but paying yourself first is an easy way to bulk up that savings account quick. When you get your next paycheck, the first thing to be paid is yourself. Stop waiting for all your bills to be paid in order to see what’s leftover. If you budget appropriately, you should know exactly what can go to savings.
This money can also be an automatic transfer directly to into your savings account. You can and should also directly deposit money into a retirement account, like a 401K. Put yourself first when you begin to budget.
Cut Out Cable
The huge trend right now is to stream internet TV. Cutting your cable in 2019 seems very real and rational. Cable is going out of style and that is making a good impact on your wallet. In fact, some people cut TV out altogether, but if that seems extreme, just try deleting your cable bills.
Great alternatives to cable include:
Let’s face it, you spend a lot of money on food. Part of saving money is planning your food. Food usually takes up quite a bit in your budget. There’s so many fast food options (many open 24/7) and with coworkers who are more than willing to sprint to the nearest chain for a greasy burger and fries, it can feel impossible to skip out.
However, if you plan your meals for the week and prep them ahead of time, you can save hundreds! Planning your food for both work and home is a great way to stick to a budget and also eat healthier.
We didn’t forget about the coffee
Coffee joints like Starbucks and Dutch Bros are making a killing these days. It is not just because their drinks are delicious, but because they have a product that is truly addicting. This year, you don’t have to give up coffee altogether, but consider saving the dough and making your favorite drink at home. At the very least, gradually cut down and make that trip to Dutch Bros a super special treat instead of a daily ritual.
If you are not too sure about giving up this one, just add up how much money you spent last month on coffee drinks. It might be shocking!
Is it emotional?
Many people spend money with their emotions. This can become a very quick downward spiral into debt. Before you step foot in the mall or desire a shopping spree, check in with yourself first. Consider alternatives to your emotional spending, and try waiting a period of time before making your next purchase. Wait until your emotions have settled and don’t take them out on your bank account.
Go to an expert
Sometimes we need a little hand holding while trying to work on our finances. That is totally ok and if you feel lost, then you probably need a financial advisor. Typically, they will consult you for free and show you many ways to save and invest in your future.
When choosing a financial planner, you have many options. It is important to know what services you desire and you find someone with a good reputation.
Set your goals and go slow
Once you’ve reduced your coffee splurges and cut the cable, make a goal that is attainable. Saving money and not living paycheck to paycheck takes time. Give yourself small, achievable goals that you can make.
You can make 2019 a great year to save and stop waiting on your next paycheck. Imagine a paycheck being deposited and you almost forget you were expecting one! It is a great feeling and by making a few cuts and getting some expert advice, this can become your reality.