Saving money isn’t easy. Whether it’s juggling monthly expenses, covering unexpected setbacks, or giving in to our shopping temptations, we all struggle with finding that happy money medium. If you feel like your savings account could be a bit more robust, and you’re still playing catch-up, you’re not alone. Most of us need to squirrel away more of our paychecks into our emergency savings or retirement funds. And we can—no matter how many times we turn 29! With a little more focus, a lot of patience, and a fresh perspective on spending habits, financial victory will be ours!
Here are some tips!
An Emergency Savings Account Is Your Friend
So you’ve been working a good amount of years, and your emergency savings account has A) 56 cents in it. B) Been moonlighting as your shoe fund. C) Never Existed.
Listen, we don’t judge.
Whatever the reasons, excuses, occasional blunders, or fashion addictions you’ve had in the past, forget ‘em. Today’s a new day! Today’s the day you SAVE!
Open an account or just start putting some extra cash in one that’s been floundering for a few many years now.
Here’s how to do it:
- Invest your emergency savings into an account with no fees and decent interest. American Express and Discover both offer online accounts with respectable interest percentages in comparison to some local banks. Higher interest means more savings! (And, for Pete’s sake, don’t get this concept confused with your credit card, y’all.)
- Have your place of employment automatically transfer part of your paycheck into your savings. (What you don’t know you’re NOT spending on monthly handbags won’t hurt you.)
- If your employer is bad at math, set it up online through your bank with an automatic transfer set for a day or two after you get paid. It’s like magic, really!
- Reevaluate your monthly bills. Do you need cable? Are those sugary coffees adding up? Could your dog survive with fewer tutus? Get serious and trim that financial fat.
- Sell stuff! This is easier than you think. We know you’ve got cute clothes lying around you’re never going to wear again. Here are some other ideas:
- Furniture you no longer need. This includes home décor!
- Books, CDs, movies, and cassettes. Yeah, some of us are REAL old.
- Jewelry from your ex. No dull sparkle for you!
- Your brother. (Kidding.) (You won't get much for this one.) (Kidding, again!)
- Get your side hustle on! Yeah, you know you’re a genius. Put your prowess to work with freelance jobs, a cute Etsy shop, a blog, or a part-time gig like a tutor or musician.
Once you make some extra income, go to your nearest savings account (preferably yours) and deposit it immediately! No ifs, ands, or but-I really-need-that-plane-ticket-to-Thailand! Nope!
Your 401K Might Be Your BFF. Just Sayin’.
One day, you won’t want to work ever again. (Note, this is NOT today, 42-somethings.) Or maybe you’ll want to work on a fun job, like a novel or art show or be a foster pet parent. To do these fabulous things and more, you’ll need a retirement account.
Okay, so we all know that the earlier we save, the better off we’ll probably be. But since you’re all high-style, maybe you haven’t saved so much. Start NOW. If your company offers a 401K match, contribute the maximum now to get the biggest reward. And while you may not be a spring chicken savings-wise, you’re going to be fine because you’re smart, nice, and determined. If you can, contribute more than the typical recommended 5%. Work your way up to 10% as soon as possible. How do you do this?
- Get a merit increase every year? What about a bonus? Longing to be promoted soon? Anytime your salary goes up, add another percent to your retirement fund. Make sure you’ve got this set up as an automatic transfer into your account.
- Does your employer have a health rewards plan? Make sure you take full advantage of this program. You can use it to offset medical and dental bills or get an extra cash reward you can—you guessed it—SAVE!
- Tell your trust fund friends to take a hike when they ask you to splurge on a spontaneous getaway, expensive dinner, or baby gift for a faux friend. You don’t have time for that!
What if your employer is a cheapie or you’re self-employed and there’s no corporate 401K? Get a financial advisor from a trusted company to set one up for you. You can do a traditional IRA or Roth IRA, for starters. A responsible advisor will direct you to the right choice for your life stage.
Then There’s You: Your Best Advocate
Saving your money is very important but saving it the way that works for your lifestyle is also something to consider. Be frugal and believe in yourself, and seeing that money grow will become addictive. It may even be your new hobby!
Keep reading this blog for more tips and tricks, too. We want you to have a happy life, a brilliant future, and all that your heart desires (within reason, fancy people!).