But... how do we get there?
Keep reading to find out.👀
Tip #1: Cut down your spending habits.
This is both the simplest and most effective way to save money, but it is often the one people struggle with the most, probably because it seems too obvious. "Want to save money? Don't spend it." may seem like a no brainer to you. But it is often something that we avoid actively thinking about, and that can leave us overspending on things that simply aren't necessities.
The takeaway here is simple. When you're browsing the latest deals online at your favorite clothing store, or running into Target for some groceries, ask yourself, "Is this a need or a want?" for every single item you put in your cart. If it's an absolute need, then purchase it without guilt. If it's a want, examine your budget for the month, and take into account all the money you will HAVE to spend in the coming weeks. If you are still comfortable with the purchase, go right ahead. But keep in mind how much more money you could have in the future if you decided to invest that money instead of spend it. Every penny counts when we talk about investing over time.
Another easy fix in spending habits that I'd like to point out is eating out vs. meal planning. Think about this-- the average meal prepped at home costs approximately $4/serving. The average meal at a restaurant is about $15/serving. That is a 375% increase in your spending per meal. OUCH. Let's look at how that adds up.
Meals Per Month
3 meals/day * 30 days/month = 90 meals/month.
90 meals x $4/meal = $360/month on food.
90 meals x $15/meal = $1,350/month on food.
The monthly difference alone is enough to stop me from ever eating out again. If we multiply these figures by 12 for the yearly cost, that comes out to:
Meal Prepping for the Year: $4,320
Eating Out for the Year: $16,200
You can save up to $11,880 a year by meal prepping instead of eating out. I REPEAT- YOU CAN SAVE OVER $10,000 A YEAR. Next time you have the thought that you can't cut back your spending anymore than you already have, think again my friend.
Tip #2: Get rid of bad debt.
You might be thinking, bad debt? Isn't all debt bad?
If you are, don't worry. I felt the same way before I heard the explanation.
“Bad” debt refers to things like credit cards or other consumer debt that do little to improve your financial outcome. “Good” debt, on the other hand, is defined as money owed for things that can help build wealth or increase income over time, such as student loans, mortgages or a business loan.
Going into debt for vacations, a car out of your price range, to go shopping-- these loans and credit card balances are NOT good. You should always avoid being in debt, unless it is a debt that will give you a return on your investment. Buying a new shirt or a fancy car, unfortunately, does not build wealth or have ROI. On the contrary, these are rapidly depreciating assets, and 99% of the time not worth the spend.
So, you know what bad debt is, but why get rid of it?
Bad debt will begin to accumulate very quickly, & much more quickly than we'd like to admit. If you cannot afford to make the proper payoffs on your debt, this will quickly result in your debt accruing interest. This means that not only do you have to pay off something you really shouldn't have purchased in the first place, but you ALSO will have to overpay for the original value of that purchase as the interest on your debt accumulates. The average interest rate for a new credit card is 18.97%. Yes, you read that correctly. If you carry a balance over on your credit card from month to month, the amount you owe will increase by almost 20% annually, possibly even more.
If you carry a balance, you'll pay interest. You should always avoid, if possible, paying interest on things that lose their value quickly.
This is why it is so important for you to prioritize paying off your debt. If you don't, money that you should be saving will just be eaten up paying off interest on your bad debt. Get ahead your bad debt by using any excess income to pay it off. Then, STOP buying things that you can't afford with the cash you have on hand. Every purchase you make should be budgeted, no questions asked!
Tip #3: Set up a realistic budget.
I talk about budgeting in my posts religiously. Why?
Because budgeting has saved me and thousands of other people thousands and thousands of dollars each. Because budgeting allows me to have CONTROL and AUTONOMY over my money, not my money controlling me. It brings a wealth of knowledge and understanding for both where you're at, and where you want to be.
When you understand where your money moves, you can take power over it in a more effective way. Meaning, you can control your spending and saving in a much more effective manner, rather than guessing about how much you should be saving a month. Check out point #1 in my last blog post to get some more details about laying out a realistic budget.
Always remember, be honest with yourself. Your budget should reflective where you're at in this phase of your life, not where you would like to be.
Tip #4: Sell anything that costs you big money.
Disclaimer: I FULLY understand that the cost of living is widely different all around the world. When I give this advice, I understand that these things are not economically possible for everyone, but these are things that worked for me and is still sound advice for some.
This one hits close to home, as I personally took this advice just a few weeks ago in my own life. This point really applies to things such as your house, car, and other large expenses like boats, ATVs, and other "toys".
If you are a renter, and your rent is costing you over 50% of your income, you need to move into a smaller location, or find roommates to share the cost of rent with you, if possible. In some areas, the cost of housing is rising rapidly, so if you can downsize in any manner, make sure to do so. As you save money, you will be able to afford PURCHASING a place that is truly comfortable for you sooner, rather than just paying someone else's mortgage off for them.
If your car expenses are costing you over 20% of your income, you should rethink what you are driving. A few weeks ago, I discovered that my car was costing me 40% of my monthly income when taking into account the cost of insurance, gas, and car payment. Being a convertible car with horrible gas mileage, I knew I could lower both my insurance and gas spending immensely by getting something a little more "boring". Although this was a hard decision to make, I'm saving over $200/month more now that I've traded in my car for something a little safer and more economical.
Tip #5: Set your savings to be automatic.
This tip is short and sweet. After examining your spending and laying out your budget, you should have a solid understanding of how much money you can comfortably put in your savings per month. Get on your laptop or mobile banking app and set up an automated transfer that occurs once a month of the amount you have budgeted to save. This will ensure that your savings will always be growing, and takes the pressure off of you to remember to make that transfer each month. It also helps ensure that you don't accidentally spend your savings money.
You can also use applications that help you save your money automatically, like FISK Mobile Investments. FISK automatically sends a small portion of your money transfers into an investment account, so that you constantly have small increments being invested over time. It's hassle-free and has HUGE payoff over time!
These are my 5 simplest tips on how to begin your money saving journey. If you have any questions, feel free to drop them in the comments, or check out my other blog posts for more money tips and tricks!