According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, the average American puts less than 5% of his or her disposable income toward savings.
Americans have struggled for years to save adequately for emergencies, retirement and major life events, and that’s still the case, according to the Consumer Federation of America and the American Savings Education Council survey. According to the survey only 66% reported saving at least some of their income. With just over half of Americans (51%) aren’t even saving 5% of their income and 37% said they do not have enough to pay for an unexpected expense like a car repair or visit to the doctor.
A plan may not guarantee you success, but it could help you get to a better financial situation. When individuals have specific savings goals they are much more likely to have good savings habits than those without a written plan.
So, how can you get into action to save like a pro? In this post, I share 10 practical action getting ways to save.
1. Save your loose change
Putting aside fifty cents a day over the course of a year will allow you to save nearly 40% of a $500 resource fund. An emergency fund by definition is often dangerous situation requiring immediate action. Instead of focusing on what could go wrong, focus on being proactive rather than reactive to life with a resource fund. When life happens, you have the resources available to meet your needs.
2. Keep track of your spending
At least once a week, review what you’ve purchased. Then, ask yourself did that purchased being you closer or further away from your goals.
3. Never purchase lavish or expensive items on impulse
Think over each expensive purchase for at least 24 hours. Having a built in wait time means that you will have fewer regrets about instinct purchases, and far more money for your financial goals.
4. Use credit cards carefully
To minimize interest charges, try to limit credit card purchases to what you can pay off in full at the end of the month.
5. Create a spending plan
Beginning with identifying where you are financially with your income and expenses by reviewing the past three months of your bank statements. Create a list of needs and wants for each month to determine where your money is going. Click here if you need support, schedule a complimentary session today.
6. Tracking it
Most people don’t track what they spend and may not realize when expenses add up to more than what their spending plan can handle. To keep track of what you spend consider keep a money jounral log or using the envelope system. This will help you avoid buying things you don’t need, and what’s left over can go towards your goals.
7. Employer discounts
Take advantage of discounts and/or incentive programs provided through your employer. For example, if the company you work for offers reduced rates for computers, fitness center memberships, and movie tickets, take advantage of the added savings. Check your corporate intranet or talk with your human resources representative to learn more about what discounts are available to you. Don’t forget the best deal of all – investing towards your retirement plan especially if your company offers 401(K) matching. Consider it a mini bonus!
One way to infuse savings discipline into your life is to automate it! Contact your bank or use an app (click here to learn more about the savings app digit) to take the stress out of saving.
9. Get coupon savvy
Coupons are a great way to save money on grocery and everyday items. Start clipping them from the insert in your Sunday paper or go to a website like www.Coupons.com and print them out.
10. Buy online
Save money by buying items online. Consider the time and gas you would save from purchasing items online combined with certain promotions like free shipping. Be sure to check out the clearance section while you’re online.