It is common that most people spend their lives saving money for their future. One if the hardest thing to do is starting the process and finding the balance between expenses and savings. Whether it comes to retirement savings or savings for a particular goal that you have in mind there are always doubts and concerns.
The most important thing is to create a savings plan that would be the best for your lifestyle and you can turn into a habit that won’t interfere your everyday life. Here we gathered a list of 10 easy steps to help you start your savings plan.
1. Keep a Record of Your Expenses
One of the most important things to start saving is to know how much you spend. The best thing to do is to start recording all your expenses, even the smallest buys you make – coffee, snacks and magazines. That will help you gather a data of your expenses and you’ll be able to organize it by categories such as Groceries, Fuel, Rent etc. Having the big picture in front of you will help you get a better understanding of what you spend the most for.
2. Make a Budget
Once you have the exact numbers of what you spend every month, you’ll be able to organize the numbers into a total budget. Your budget will help you make a summary and see how your income measures your expenses. That way you’ll be able to optimize the control over your spending.
3. Make a Saving Plan
When you have your budget outlined it is time to make a savings category within it. It is best to try and put 10-15% of your monthly income in the savings account. There is, of course, the possibility that you are not able to save that much. In that case, you can check your expenses and identify the things you can cut back. That could be going to the cinema that often and dining out.
4. Saving Goal
It would be easier to save money when you set a specific goal. Whether it would be a destination you’ve always wanted to visit or a new sports car, it is important to set a goal and pursue it. Then figure out how long it will take for you to get there. As an example, you can create a short- and long-term goal such as Short-Term (1-3 years) Emergency Fund, Vacation, New Car. Long-Term: (5+ years) – Retirement, Your children’s college payment, New house.
The biggest impact on your savings, after your expenses and income, will be the goals you have set. Make sure you always remember your long-term goals. It is very important to create a healthy balance between long and short-term needs. Better understanding and planning your goals will help you know when is the best moment to start saving.
6. Select the Best Tools
Based on your short and long-term goals you can consider using different bank tools. The options vary depending on your needs and it is up to you to make the right choice. The banks offer Saving Accounts, Certificate of deposit (CD). There are also tools made especially for long-term goals such as the Retirement accounts (IRAs ) and Securities such as stocks or mutual funds.
7. Automatic savings
The automated transfers are not a new service that the banks offer. You can easily ask your bank to transfer a certain amount every month from your checking to your savings account. You can choose how much, when and to which account the funds to be transferred. An automated transfer is an easy way to make sure you save every month and you won’t feel tempted to spend the funds elsewhere.
8. Observe the growth of your savings
The best way to feel the saving progress is to check it every month. That will help you and motivate you to stick to your savings plan and also be able to notice any issue that may occur along the way.
9. Determine a Withdraw Strategy
Once you have your budget and your savings account you need to figure out a spending plan of your savings based on your short- and long-term goals. As a start, you can create a “bucket” of your guaranteed income that will cover housing, food and utilities. When you cover these necessities you’ll be able to better plan the spending.
10. Be Mindful of the Unexpected
While it is very important to create and stick to a savings account and setting up goals it is also very important to be mindful of the unexpected. You can consider including emergency savings funds. Make sure your plan is diversified, having elements of guaranteed income and growth.