In this generation, more and more young adults are taking their time to venture out on their own, but even during hard times, putting money away is important – hence saving on a budget. I’ll show you my favorite ways to save.*
When you’re barely making ends meet, how do you save money? Simply, you put it in your budget, put it away, and don’t touch it. Saving money on a budget doesn’t have to be complicated, but you do have to be committed. If you really want some inspiration, here are some numbers for you:
—Putting away $5 a day for 5 days a week equals to $1,300.00 saved for the year with no interest earned. Think about making your own coffee at home instead of buying from coffee shops, and you’re there already.
—Make that $10 a day for 5 days a week, and you have $2,600.00 saved with no interest earned. If you make your own meals instead of eating out for lunch, and you’re there.
—Put that together for $15 a day for 5 days a week, and you have $3,900.00 at the end of the year.
If you invest your savings into something that gives you a return (savings account, mutual fund, other investment), you’ll likely increase your savings potential. While I’m not a financial advisor, I do have personal investments and firmly believe in the power of simple interest. I’m simple and conservative when it comes to investments, and I only invest what I can stand to lose.
Let’s face it, the economy is unpredictable, and when you’re on a tight budget, you can’t afford certain risks. You can, however, afford some risks, like putting money away every day, because life is life, and eventually, the money will be put to use. With careful planning and dedication, you’ll be able to manage saving on a budget and so much more.
Prioritize and Sacrifice
When you’re building up a savings, you’re making a commitment to yourself that you’re going to put yourself first. That’s right. Pay yourself first and put money into your savings. When creating your budget, write down only the items that are essential to living like: savings, rent, utilities, transportation, insurance, groceries, and if there’s room, miscellaneous. You will need to acknowledge that you’ll have to sacrifice unnecessary items and purchases. If you always feel tight on funds, you shouldn’t be making those purchases anyway.
Now, set aside the amounts you’re dedicating to these items. First, determine how much you’d like to put into your savings. Usually, items like rent, utilities, transportation, insurance are predictable, but for groceries and miscellaneous, you’re going to need to know where to cut yourself off. If you’d like a tip for grocery budgeting, it’s sometimes easier to set aside a certain amount per week and plan meals around the budget. This limits wasting food and resources.
Advance Pay or Auto-Pay
Next, you need to decide when you’re going to be paying for your budgeted items. Ideally, you want to pay all of your bills at the beginning of the month so that you won’t have to worry about it. Sometimes, companies provide incentives for customers who take advantage of the auto-pay system, so check into your accounts and see if this applies to you. By paying for all of your necessities up front, you won’t see the money and be tempted to spend on other things.
Should you be lucky enough to have leftovers after savings and bills, you can either invest the rest and increase your savings or use your very good judgement on how to spend the remaining funds. Learn to adapt the discipline that once you allocate an amount to an item, do not change your mind. Try it out for a few months if possible and then make adjustments. Remember, this is a commitment, so think about your financial situation very carefully.
Savings and Investment Apps
If like me, you prefer to manage your cash virtually, you might enjoy managing your funds with a savings or investment app made to help build your savings and manage investments more easily. Personally, I use my banks’ mobile apps to keep track of my funds, but I also started using Stash Invest this month for some playful investing. With Stash, you can invest how ever much you want to towards investment accounts. You see a return or a loss each day, depending on how well your investments did that day. Currently, I’m earning a 1.13% interest on my investments daily, which is a lot better than 0.
Another app I really like is Qapital, and it’s one of those programs that rounds up your purchase price and puts the change into savings. For instance, you buy a cookie that costs $1.50. Qapital will round up your expense to $2.00 and put $0.50 into your savings. Think of it as putting your loose change into a piggy bank. Since I round up my purchases in my head, this app makes it much easier and saves for me at the same time.
If you work in the service industry, you’ll like Tip Yourself, because that’s what you do – tip yourself for whatever reason. I like it for putting away extra savings, or if I feel like I could’ve saved more that day. With a community feel, you can connect with other members and cheer each other on! Go savings, yay!
Now, if you’re the kind of person that gets a really bad headache from thinking about financial crap, well maybe Digit is for you. Essentially, Digit takes a look at your spending habits from past transactions and determines how much is an ok amount to remove from your fund account and place into savings. While the app does determine the amounts for you, it will never remove amounts that will put your account at risk of overdraft. Also, you can withdraw at any time.
Lastly, we have Acorns, which is somewhat like a combination of Qapital and Stash Invest. When you make a purchase, Acorns rounds up your purchase amount to the nearest dollar and invests that amount into an investment account that you have specified. If you’re looking into beginner investing, this could work for you. Of the 5 apps mentioned here, Acorns is the only one that isn’t free. You’ll need to pay $1.00 per month once you start investing. That’s not too bad.
Commit to saving money.
Now that I’ve said my piece on saving money even when you’re broke, what do you think? Remember, saving money is a commitment. It’s a relationship with yourself and your financial future that you’ll need to be dedicated to 100%. Unexpected things come up all of the time, and you want to be ready for when that does happen.
Do you have a favorite app that you like to use to manage your financials? Do share!
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*As stated, I am not a financial advisor, nor should this information be interpreted as financial advice of any kind.