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Putting aside some money for a rainy day isn’t as simple it sounds for most of us. You may have some good intentions, but after you pay the bills, buy the groceries, and anything else that may come up, there just isn’t any money left. Somehow, your paycheck is spent before you make it to the next one. Living paycheck to paycheck isn’t just frustrating; it’s also stressful. That’s why we’ve compiled these 7 steps to help you save more and stop those anxious between paycheck periods.
1. Make a Personal Budget
2. Figure Out Your Discretionary Income
Now, it’s time to do a little bit of math. Take your monthly income, and subtract all of your core expenses that you just figured out in number one. What you’re left with is called your discretionary income. This is the money you’ll use to pay for your weekly lunch with your best friend, clothes, going to the movies, and the other fun stuff you do. Since you’re working on saving away some cash, a part of this discretionary income will go into a savings account every month.
3. Pick a Dollar Amount to Save
Here’s the daunting part. You need to decide how much of that fun money you’d rather save away. Pick a number you’re comfortable with. It could be anything from $5 to $500. Choose a number you know you can stick to. Pretend it’s a bill and add it to your monthly budget. It won’t take you long to get into the habit of setting aside that money for savings.
4. Set Your Savings on Autopilot
5. Audit Your Budget and Savings Regularly
You may think you’ve got it all figured out, but you shouldn’t take it all for granted. From time to time, you should do an audit of your savings. Take another look at your budget. Did you get a raise? Have you paid your car loan off? Decide whether or not it’s time to put a little bit more into savings.
Another great way to boost that savings account is to take your extra money and put them straight into the savings account. The “extra money” is things like birthday money, tax returns, and bonuses. You never accounted for that money, so you won’t even miss it. Meanwhile, it’ll help you build up your reserves.
6. Don’t Lose Out on Free Money
Don’t stick your savings just anywhere. Make sure it put it in an interest-bearing account. Unless you have an emergency, you won’t need to touch this money so placing it in an account that accrues interest makes sense. Talk to your local bank or financial advisor about the type of account that will make the most sense for you.
7. What About Retirement?
Saving for the unknown is important, but what about retirement? I’ll leave you with one last tip. Talk to your employer about matching 401K funds. You may be able to get a contribution from the company you work for towards your retirement savings account. Even if they don’t have a matching program, it’s a good idea to see what retirement planning options are available.
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