If you want to ensure the best possible financial future for you and your family, then you know that living from paycheck to paycheck is only going to work for so long. You need to be prepared for the unexpected costs that pop up, the investments you need to make, and the eventuality that you’re not going to be working anymore. Everyone should start to save their money as soon as the possibly can and here are a few methods that are going to help you ensure that you save as best you can.
Set Your Goals
First, you need to think about what exactly you’re saving for. The truth is that you might very well have more than one goal, and once you figure them out, it’s all about which one you prioritize more. There both long-term goals and short-term goals, as shown at NerdWallet.com. Short-term goals include things like putting together an emergency fund or putting together the deposit for a car or a home.
Medium-term goals include things like saving up for a holiday or a home loan deposit. Then there are the long-term goals, like saving for your kids’ college fees or retirement. It’s better to prioritize the majority of your savings into short-term goals when you have them, but always be contributing to those long-term goals, too.
Know What You Can Save
How you weigh those different priorities is going to depend on how much, exactly, you can save in the first place. For that reason, you’re going to need to learn how to budget. There are a variety of different apps that can help you manage your money. From there, figure out not just the regular expenses, such as monthly payments like rent, mortgage, insurance, and so on.
Figure out on average how much you spend on clothes, food, and other regular costs. You can find ways to cut down on your non-essential expenses with these apps, but most importantly you want to find out how much you can reasonably set aside each month to contribute to your financial future.
Pay Yourself First
Procrastination is the enemy of good financial growth. That’s a lesson you need to learn right now. If you wait to put money into your savings, you’ll find yourself putting in less than you should or simply having more months where you put nothing at all in. Finding out what you can save by budgeting isn’t setting a “goal” for you to meet by spending less each month. It’s how much you’re going to set aside as soon as you get that money.
Pay yourself first, as described by TheBalance.com. First, your money goes into your savings, then you put aside all the money on essential expenses, such as rent, bills, and groceries. What you have left is what you have to spend on non-essential expenses.
Eliminate Your Debt
Debt is always going to make it harder to both budget and to save. Beyond the regular repayments, the interest that accrues the longer you have debt will push your goals further and further away. You need to come up with a strategy to start minimizing debt as much as possible. Sometimes, this means using that savings money to eliminate small debts while you can. But most of your efforts should go to getting rid of the debts with the highest interest rates first and foremost.
Beyond paying more into these debts, you might also want to consider consolidation that can adjust payment plans and interest rates to make debts more manageable. Once debt is eliminated, try paying by cash more often than using credit.
Choose The Best Place To Save
It’s very likely that you have a bank account at the time of reading this and your bank might offer a few options to help grow your savings. But are they the best place to put your savings? The truth is that they might not be. For one, you want to consider whether or not there are going to be extra fees and costs associated with your savings. Banks tend to have plenty, so other credit unions and associations like AtlantaFCU.org can be a better option.
It’s a good idea to choose different savings accounts for short-term and long-term savings, too. For short-term savings, you want accounts that don’t penalize you too heavily for withdrawing from them. For long-term savings, you want to take advantage of the very best interest rates on the market.
Balance Your Long-Term Savings
A great long-term savings account can be a secure, simple way to save your money, but it’s not the only way you should think about growing your wealth in the long-term. The best financial plans have a little more diversity about them. For financial growth, savings should also be balanced by long-term investments. Index funds, bonds, blue chip stocks, and even property can make a healthy portfolio. They’re there to give you a better chance at more growth, not just a place to hold your money and accrue a little interest on the side.
While savings options should be best used for things like saving property deposits or paying your child’s tuition, long-term investment can assure you an earlier retirement and more assets to leave your family.
Automate And Review
Paying yourself first is a great way to be safe and assure that you’re always contributing to your finances. But you should also consider automating it as much as possible, as recommended by BusinessInsider.com. Many banks and credit unions allow you to set up automatic transfers that you can choose to make come out every time pay-day rolls around. This ensures that you never forget or miss a payment towards your financial security in the future. Make sure you take a look and review your savings each month, too. Know how close you are to certain goals, whether you can afford to start saving more, or whether it’s time to scale back.
It’s important to regularly review just how you save money, and if there are any better methods out there. The tips above are just a start but if you want to make the most of your savings, you need to be actively involved in them.