When you start looking at your budget don’t fret if you have to start saving, it doesn’t have to be a burden.
Saving money is often times associated with making sacrifices of creature comforts, like getting a cup of coffee before going into the practice. But saving doesn’t have to mean giving up what you like.
Here are four simple things you can do to save without eliminating what you enjoy. Think of your 401K or other retirement plan as a forced savings account. Yes, you want to use it for retirement, but in an emergency it’s money you’ll have tucked away, increasing over time. As a general rule of thumb, you want to increase your contribution from your paycheck by 1% each year. There are various tools to help you figure out how much you should contribute.
For instance, nerdwallet.com, an easy to use independent site, provides a guide on the basics to navigating your 401K. Just enter your age, income, and current 401K information and watch the system do the rest.The garage sale is a tried and true method for cleaning house. No matter your age it’s likely that you have accumulated items over the years you don’t use anymore. There are numerous ways to sell these old items online, such as eBay to Facebook, that don’t require much effort. You can also ask your family and friends what they’re looking for, as you never know who needs something.
You aren’t beholden to just selling unused items, you can also donate them. Not only is charity a reward unto itself, but organizations like Goodwill will give you a receipt for a tax write off. Charity can also help promote you and your practice as an active member of the community, an effective marketing tool that does real good for others.Credit card companies are pushing rewards now more than ever. It’s a safe bet your credit card will have one of these programs in place for spending on certain activities like going to the movies, getting gas, or going grocery shopping at participating stores. If your credit card doesn’t have a program in place, you can easily switch to one that offers bonuses like airline miles and gift cards.
Credit card spending is something that can easily get out of hand without you realizing it. One way you can manage this, is by setting up a small monthly auto-payment that is slightly above your minimum payment to chip away at your debt. This will help prevent accruing interest and you won't have to remind yourself each month to pay your bill.Now, this may seem more like sacrifice, but try to find a cheaper or free replacement for something you would normally spend money on. For example, make your favorite coffee right at home. Many coffee shops sell their coffee beans for you to take home in bulk. At the time of purchase, it’s more than paying for a single cup of coffee but overtime the savings will add up.
Want to meet up with a friend? You don’t have to spend money to have fun. Go for a walk in a local park or find something free, like a museum. Shopping for food can also add up, so be savvy and look for coupons on your favorite items along with the daily sales.
Keeping an eye out for little savings in your day-to-day life will make sure what you want to spend your savings on doesn’t turn into a burden.