January 27, 2010

How To Start Saving: 10 Easy Ways



Why is it that starting the saving process is so hard?  OK, why is it that starting most things is hard?  Yes, yes, I know that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.  And you do too!  And that’s what I’m getting at here.  We all know it needs to be done.  We all have some idea of how it is done – take money and put it somewhere that we can’t get it.  Most of us can master the ‘put it somewhere  that we can’t get it’ part.  It’s the first part, which involves the money.  If you have no money, it’s hard to save it.

The thing is, if we look hard enough we don’t even have to make major changes to find a few bucks to get our money tree started growing.  I’ve thought about this for a long time and have read other blogs and many financial planning books.  Interestingly, many of them say very similar things.  But I’m here to share with you 10 Easy Ways to start your saving journey.  You’re not going to get rich with these small steps, but they will get you on a path of seeing that you are able to take these first steps.

1.  Save your coins – at the end of the day, take all your coins and put them in a big jar.  At the end of the month you’ll be surprised at how much you have.

2.  Use your local library – if you’re an avid book reader (I’m reading 4 right now), check books out from your local library.  You can also check out movies as well.  Often you don’t even need to go in and hunt them down yourself.  I use my local library’s online hold system to reserve my books so all I have to do is go in and check them out.  Saves money AND time!  For every book you can check out instead of purchase, put the money you would have spent in your savings jar or transfer the money into an online savings account such as ING Direct.  (No link b/c you can go there yourself and I don’t want you to think I’m getting something for referring you)

3.  Eat at home – if you usually eat out twice a week (or more), by cutting back one day you can save $30-$50 (depending on family size and where you normally go) a week.  Transfer that money (or even half since you have to eat something and that still costs money) into your savings account.

4.  Use Coupons – you can easily save $10 a week on the things you buy if you use check coupon matching sites such as mine.  I don’t do all the stores, but if you need a store I don’t post just let me know because I can get it for you.  With 30 minutes of time a week you can save $520 a year!  Make the savings real by transferring the money saved using coupons into your savings account.

5.  Monitor your thermostat – determine if you can adjust it just one or two degrees to save a few dollars.  Keep track of your savings.

6.  Write down everything you spend – if you have to write it down you may reconsider the purchase.  If I know it’s not something I really need many times I don’t want to look at having made that purchase so I will choose not to.  Most of the time it’s something I could do without anyway.

7.  Always have water, tea, coffee, sports drink, etc. with you – never walk out of the house without something to drink.  If you’re tempted to stop and pick up a drink – even a soda at the quick-e-mart – that’s money you could save (and possibly time and calories!) for your someday.  Just $2 a week and you’re over $100!

8.  Go to the early movie – while some may say you shouldn’t go to the movies at all, for many that’s just not a reality.  So, instead of foregoing it totally head out to the early movie and pocket the few dollar savings.  Do this for 2 movies a month and  you’ve saved over $100 very easily.

9.  Maintain your vehicle – yes this will be one of those Spend Money to Save Money moments, but you and your car will thank you.  Proper tire inflation helps you get better gas mileage and maximize the life of the tires, regular oil changes and other maintenance can give you more time doing what is important instead of waiting for the tow truck.

10.  Pay yourself $10 every week just because – you can actually pick any amount you wish.  The whole point is to recognizing that saving is a priority.  You are mentally telling yourself that you are important, just as your other bills are too.  Instead of waiting to see what is left over at the end of the month, save from the beginning!

By instituting these 10 easy ways to get started saving, you can easily have over $1,000 saved in one year.  That may now sound like a lot and maybe you’re thinking that it’s not much.  But, your journey to freedom tomorrow begins with saving today.

I know you can do it.  I believe each person’s ability to achieve anything they set their mind to doing!

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