I know what you are thinking: Savings, are you kidding? The very idea of saving seems almost crazy when you are just trying to pay your monthly bills on time.
That said, I think everyone can find some ways to save. I have, and it is not as hard as you may think.
Saving money takes a little creativity and a little self-discipline. But the rewards are more than worth it.
Try socking away just $3 a day and at the end of the month you will have saved nearly $100. Three dollars is bagging your lunch instead of buying a few days a week. Three dollars is not going to Starbucks for your latte. In a year, you will have saved more than $1,000, and you will be well on your way to a solid saving and investing plan.
Your goal should be to save at least 10 percent of your pay each month. But start by doing what you can and gradually bump it up. Finally, keep a goal in mind of why you are living on a budget. You might be able to swing that trip to Jamaica. And there is no law that says you can't throw yourself a little reward now and then and head to a movie with your best friend or dine out.
Try these saving tips, then share your saving secrets on our Savers Circle message board:
- Drink tap water.
- Make your own coffee.
- Stay away from ATM machines that charge fees. Even better, plan to withdraw a set amount each month and stick to it.
- Raise the insurance deductibles on your car.
- Pay cash whenever possible, but keep a receipt for your files.
- Make paying off your credit card balance a goal. Set a timetable to achieve it. And stop using your card for the little things. Only buy what you have the money to pay for now.
- Take your lunch to work.
- Eat breakfast at home each morning.
- Make a shopping list and stick to it in the grocery store. No more impulse buying of high-cost snacks or soft drinks.
- Avoid shopping as entertainment. Take a walk in the park instead.
- Exercise outside in the warmer months and save on health club costs.
- Before you buy anything that costs more than $75, wait 24 hours. You may just forget about that new sweater after all.
- Cut your mortgage payments by refinancing. If you carry mortgage insurance, make sure you really need it or ask your lender to drop it.
- Get a credit card with no annual fee and a low interest rate.
- Buy silk flowers instead of fresh ones.
- Give homemade treats as gifts.