The future is a mystery we’ll all discover eventually, but it’s terrifying to think about how our planning today can affect us 30-40 years from now. The best way to properly prepare yourself for your post-work years is to start now and save early. Some jobs offer retirement plans to help make your life easier when you’re older, but you want to make sure you’re financially ready either way. Here are 9 great tips you can follow to start saving now.
- Save your tax refund. One of the best random income increases you can receive is during tax season. Normally, people spend their tax refund as soon as they get it, treating themselves to something nice. What if you instead saved it or put the money towards an investment? Depending on how large your refund is, you could do quite a bit with that money. If you’re smart about it, those yearly income increases can assist you later in life.
- Tackle your debt early. A big contributor to some is they feel they can’t save as much due to having to pay their debts. Take care of these payments as early as possible so you’re not dealing with them as they grow larger later in life. This will restore a large chunk of your income and open up new avenues for savings.
- Cut out excess spending. What do you truly need and what are you picking up just because you just felt like having it? Did you really need to keep that subscription to Netflix you watch maybe once a month? Do you need to keep paying for those weekly nights out at local restaurants? Find ways to cut out your excessive spending habits and use those funds to place into a savings account.
- Save half of your yearly bonus. If you’re in a career where you receive a bonus around Christmas time, think about how to spend it. Throwing it at material things you always wanted is nice in the moment, but it’s a waste of funds long-term. Try saving half of this, just like you would your tax refund. This can accumulate quickly and add another layer of profits to your retirement.
- Have a savings goal. Each month, set a goal for the amount you’d like to see go into your savings account. Find a way to reach that goal by doing little things. This way, instead of aimlessly saving your money, you’re working towards something concrete This means if you reach this goal, you can choose to use any extra funds you have left on yourself or put it into savings. Do what matters to you.
- Understand your weaknesses. Do you stay up late surfing the web when you’re drunk, making idle purchases? You could have used those funds to place into your savings account! You want to figure out the worst ways you’re spending your cash and learn how to handle these bad habits. The earlier you identify and correct these poor decisions, the more money you’ll save in the long run.
- Watch your credit cards. Sometimes credit card debt gets the better of us. We let those payments run up and we pay the minimum amount each month, thinking we’ll tackle it again at some point. That’s a problem. You need to get those payments under control now. Pay off those credit cards as quickly as you can and get your spending in check. As a bonus, the sooner you pay off your outstanding balances, the sooner you’ll see the rewards the card companies offer.
- Pick one day a week in which you don’t spend a single dime. All bets are off on this day. Choose a day in which you don’t spend a single dollar on anything except for emergencies. Find things to do without spending money and never take out your wallet. You’d be surprised by how much money you can save if you do this once a week—and it’s not that difficult! It just takes a bit of intention and discipline.
- Stop drinking at restaurants. It’s really tempting to have an alcoholic beverage with your dinner when you’re on a date, but don’t do it. Restaurants raise the price of alcohol by so much, it’s crippling. Stick to water instead and if your date wants to go back to your place, have a bottle of wine ready. It’s cheaper and more intimate. Double win!