Do you have any personal savings?
The rate of personal savings is way down here in the US.
We just aren’t saving our money.
You’d think with the recent downturn in the economy and the drop in housing values that people would begin saving more. You just don’t see it in the numbers.
So, if you currently don’t have any savings…or, maybe you have some savings, but you’ve stopped and find it hard to get back on track, then it’s time to kick start your savings habit.
Here are some great ways to start saving money today:
1. Tax Refund
It’s tax time. Expecting, or already received, your tax refund? Why not skip the big purchase this year and use that money to get started saving?
If you have a refund, the Government has essentially been holding your money for you in a forced savings account. Why not just take it from them and put it into a savings account of your own?
2. Bonus and/or Raise
Did you get a bonus or raise at work recently. Commit today to put that money in savings (bonus) or increase savings percentages (raise) to your 401K or other automatic savings plan.
An old boss of mine once shared with me that if he could have continued to live off of the salary he made early in his career and simply saved every raise and bonus he had received, he would have become a very, very wealthy man.
Live within your means and avoid spending more when you make more.
3. Dine-In (at Home) Only
If you are the type that dines out a lot (4-5 times) during a week (which more of us are these days), then you could quickly come up with more money to save by simply grocery shopping and eating at home more.
Make a commitment to eat at home for one full week and see how much money you suddenly have for savings. Do this two weeks out of the month and you’ll have no more excuses for not saving. Also, when you do dine out, spend less.
4. Find a Freelance Side Gig
One of the best ways to start saving money today is to add to your income by taking on a freelance opportunity. Work at night or on the weekends and put your profits straight into your savings account.
You don’t have to do this forever, but it could be a great way to give your savings account the initial boost you need. Who knows, you may end up liking the gig and turn it into a small business for yourself.
5. Sell Your Crap
If you’re like me, you’ve got way too many DVDs, CDs, Books, and other stuff you’re not using just laying around the house. Why not list some of those items on eBay, or the free (local) service craigslist.org?
You could also use a store like Half-Priced Books to return the items OR just have an old-school garage sale. Commit to start a savings account based on what you make from these sales.
6. Start with Free Money
Saving money is easy when you get it for free. There are lots of incentives out here to start saving more…bank bonuses for example. I happen to use Capital One’s 360 Savings Account for my short-term savings.
They will give you a $50 bonus if you get started with $1 in one of their savings accounts.
7. Make it Automatic
Lastly, I’d share that one of the best ways to save money consistently is to do it automatically. By automating your savings you take the pressure off of yourself to be disciplined enough to do it alone. No habits needed.
Whether it’s through your company’s 401K or direct deposit into a savings account, setting it up automatically can be a powerful way to increase your savings ability. Good luck getting started.
I know I missed a few. Do you have any other ways to kick-start the saving habit? How did you do it?