When it comes to personal finances, saving money is one of the most important things anyone can do. Saving money is planning for the future. Without having any savings and living paycheck to paycheck, if you ever lost your job, you'd be forced to find another job quickly or suffer the consequences. Don't let it come down to that point!
If you're one of those people who have a tough time saving money and can never seem to find a way to do it, don't worry - I'll show you how you can save money on any budget, regardless of your income. It's really a lot easier than you think, and after sitting down and analyzing your personal finances, you'll start to see money that can be put aside. It's all how you look at it.
Analyze Your Finances
In order to save money, you need to sit down and find out where all of your money is currently going. Make a list of all of your expenses for the month and deduct it from your net income. The money left over is what you have to work with, but you're not done yet. You need to consider living expenses as well (food, gas, entertainment, etc). There are two ways you can do this - either estimate how much you spend on each thing or track your spending for an entire week to see how much you REALLY spend. I suggest doing the latter, as it will give you a closer look into your spending habits, which can help you in the next step.
Prepare a Budget
Doesn't the word "budget" just sound bland? Most people cringe when they hear the word, but it's not as bad as it seems. The key is to make your budget workable. Budgets work like diets. If you one day just up and decide you're going to stop spending money on your daily coffee, gas station snacks or quick lunches, it's only going to last so long. You need to slowly introduce your budget, and you also need to allow room for your treats every now and then. By doing this, it'll be a lot easier to follow a budget and find money to save, rather than try it for a few days, crash and increase your spending.
Save What You Can
After you prepare a budget, it's time to see what you can save each week or month. Saving money weekly is much easier rather than monthly, and many online savings accounts (such as HSBC Direct or ING Direct) allow for weekly transfers to come out of your regular checking account. By saving weekly, you'll slowly start to see money build each week, which encourages you to continue to save.
You should only start to save what you truly can. After looking over all of your finances and you get a solid grip on your every day spending, break down what you can save each week and setup an online transfer with an online savings institution (like the ones I mentioned above or others). You basically "set it and forget it". If you save a realistic and manageable amount, you won't even realize the money being transferred over. Before you know it, you'll have a nice savings built up for an emergency or anything else in life that comes your way.