There are so many great ideas for saving money, but not all of them will apply to you. The best ways to save money should be amenable to just about everyone. So, in this article, you’ll find a compilation of nine practical habits that will surely suit you and your current financial circumstance.
1. Pay Off All Your Debt
If 50% of your monthly income goes to debt repayment, will you still have leftovers to put into savings? What if the other 50% supports the needs of you and your family? Wouldn’t it be great to be able to save half of your income rather than let Mr. Banker take it?
That’s why it’s never a great idea to muddle your finances with debt. In any form of credit (bank loan to money borrowed from a friend), the good part is almost always momentary — typically in the beginning, when you get the cash in full. Once, it dwindles away, and creditors come knocking at your door, you’d be surprised with all the regret your emotions conjure. Plus, it just makes saving even a single penny remotely possible.
It’s easier said than done, but getting rid of all your debt is the first step in being able to save money. And, if you manage to do so, refrain from signing up for borrowed money again. Sometimes it could be tempting if you feel you have the capacity to repay, but you must look at the situation farther into the future.
2.Set a Savings Goal Each Month
It should be your goal to reserve a percentage of your income for your savings. The Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association of America (TIAA) recommends the 50/30/20 rule, which means that you can save a maximum of 50% and a minimum of 20% of your income.
Now, even if you still have some debt to pay but have room in your income to set aside a small percentage for your savings, then save up that sou. The amount doesn’t matter, but what matters is the mentality and consistency.
Action Step: Use the 50/30/20 rule. But feel free to be discretionary with this step, especially if the majority of your income goes to debt payment.
3. Allocate Savings
The percentage of your income that you plan to reserve for savings can be allocated to serve different purposes. For example, you choose to save 50% of your income: divvy that 50% to purposes such as investing, retirement, emergency, and entertainment.
In investing, allocate 35-40%. If you’re on the aggressive side taking on slightly risky investments, make sure that you don’t commit all the 50% for investing.
For retirement, designate 45-50% to a retirement plan like a 401(k) or 401 (b). In this case, your employer will automatically deduct your salary monthly, and it will go directly to the plan administrator, which will be in charge of investing your retirement money.
For emergency purposes, allocate 5-10%. Having set aside emergency money will help you pull through in unexpected situations such as business bankruptcy (if you own a business), job loss, medical expenses, and unplanned expenses.
And the best for last, the entertainment fund. Fix a 5-10% allotment to money you’ll occasionally tap into to make a little splurge. There’s nothing wrong to indulge you and your family once in a while to something enjoyable, but make sure that this fund will cover the entirety of the expense — the use of credit should not be in the picture.
4. Forget to Impress
If your impetus for spending on stuff you don’t need is to impress other people, you need to stop! All the items you purchased to make you feel more superior to others will soon be listed on a classified ads website for less than half their original price.
And, with a mentality of spending to impress will make you less inclined to save money and possibly more inclined to take on credit — and, that will plunge you in a debt trap.
Action Step: You must realize that you don’t need validation from other people to make you feel better about yourself. What matters is that you’re prepared financially when the bad times roll.
5. Save Money on Groceries (Discounts and Monthly Buying)
Convenience stores are great for…well…convenience. But regularly purchasing items from the nearest 7 Eleven to satisfy your craving for a quick snack can put a hole in your budget. But if you consider setting a schedule for doing groceries, you might be able to save a few more dollars than you might’ve expected.
Some grocery stores offer discounts for frequent shoppers or for buying grocery items in bulk. Moreover, a weekly or monthly routine to do groceries makes you a less impulsive shopper because it allows you to plan and budget for items that you deem are necessary only.
1. Shop in bulk and be on a hunt for discounts.
2. Mark your calendars for when you’ll be paying a visit to your local grocery store.
- A. Weekly: Food
- B. Monthly: Toiletries, Personal, and Homecare products
6. Save Money on Food
It’s nice to dine in a fancy restaurant occasionally, but not too often that it strains your finances. So, how often should you eat out? Well, the answer to that question is the entertainment budget that was mentioned earlier. Are there enough funds in there to cover the lavish dinner? If there isn’t, then you might want to consider being a Michelin star chef in your own kitchen.
Action Step: Limit eating out to once a month or when you have enough in your entertainment budget. For the meantime, learn healthy recipes that can last for a few days to save time and money.
7. Grow Your Food
Aside from cooking your own food, you might want to consider growing them too. When you’re able to produce even the tiniest ingredient to your meal like cherry tomatoes, you get to keep a portion of your budget for grocery shopping.
But what if you don’t have a garden to grow food? Well, have you seen one of those Smart Garden products? You can invest in one of them and start growing herbs like red basil, leaf mustard, catnip, and many others on your desk at home.
And, aside from being able to save a little, another benefit of gardening is that it may prolong your life too.
Action Step: Start reading more about planting and ideas about growing your own food.
8. Invest Automatically
After allocating some of your savings to your investing budget, you may be inclined to chip away at it, especially if the cash is still accessible. To combat this, you can set a way to put a certain amount of money directly to investments routinely.
The more you automate the way you invest, the less you have to think about it, and the sooner your money is put to work.
Action Step: Arrange an automatic investment plan with your employer. Or, if you’re a business owner, the bank who handles the income from your business.
Insurance is an expense that protects you from unforeseen expenses. Should you need medical attention, your insurance shields you from costly medical bills. What if you unintentionally damage your car? Your insurance will take care of the repair without having you cough up a single penny in your pocket.
An insurance policy is your protection in cases where you’ve failed to prepare for an unexpected financial situation or if the money in your emergency fund can’t cover the unplanned expense.
Action Step: Cover the basics: medical and life insurance.