Many Americans have little to nothing at all saved up. In the event of any emergency, most people just don’t have any resources to weather the blow. That’s pretty much an open secret, though. After all, those living paycheck to paycheck and struggling to get by often find that building a cushion from scratch is daunting.
It can be difficult to understand how to build up your savings, but the key is to start little by little. Nothing is impossible once you get started. Here are five tips to help you strategically start building your savings:
Evaluate Your Priorities
To be successful at saving, you have to understand why you need to do it. We all have goals in life. What are yours? When you have a better understanding of what you want to achieve in the short and long term, you can then make succinct plans to save for them. It’s very important to understand what your priorities are, because the reality is that you can’t spend on everything you want to. So be strategic with your budget and spend only where it can help push you further in life.
Make Small Changes
Your savings isn’t going to multiply overnight. Results will take time. Many people make the mistake of trying to save too much too soon. When you make too many drastic changes to your life at once, it’s difficult to sustain the effort. You’re likely just to go back to your old, bad spending habits. It’s best to start small and do little things that you barely notice, like making your own coffee in the morning or bringing lunch to work a couple of days a week. These small efforts sound minuscule, but the savings will start adding up.
Make it Automatic
Set it and forget it. That’s the name of the game. The easiest way to save is to make it automatic so that you don’t have the possibility of forgetting to make the deposit. Set automatic-payment transfers from your checking to your savings account. You can do this for days when you get paid. Start with small transfers and then increase them over time. Eventually, you probably won’t even notice anymore.
Get a Side Gig
If you’re just making ends meet and your budget is bare-bones already, it’s probably going to be difficult to start saving no matter how hard you try. In that case, it’s wise to find additional streams of revenue. Many people these days can make extra income right from the comfort of their own home, doing tasks such as freelance writing or graphic design. If you prefer something more hands-on, you can moonlight as a handyman, dog walker or Uber driver. There are plenty of options out there for people of any skill set. You just have to find one.
Last, the most important thing to do is to plan ahead. Most of the time, people can’t save because they are caught off guard by their own spending. Be proactive and plan out your weeks and even months ahead. Then try your best to stick to the budget and if you find yourself having trouble, adjust the numbers as soon as possible. The more you plan ahead, the easier it will be for you to save any amount of money.
It’s true that there are more Americans with nothing saved than those who have a cushion. It doesn’t mean it’s okay to be in the majority in this case, though. Start small, and work your way toward freedom. The effort is worth it.
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