If you have questions about this change, you're in the right place. Our editors, experts, and community of change optimists have answers!
How Can I Start Saving?
I have a savings account but rarely add to it. Is there a better way to set aside money for a rainy day? I'd like to have an emergency fund...but I always end up using money for "emergencies" like travel and new clothes!
An old adage says to pay yourself first but sometimes that doesn't work if you have tons of bills. It takes discipline.
I've done income and expenses spreadsheet to know where our money is going. Separating living exp. (rent, elec., car, phone, cable, insur, etc) from variable exp. (food entertainment, travel, gas, etc). Apply what lonewolf below suggested to forecast expenses. Separate out credit card payments. Add misc for non-vital exp. like movies, travel, clothing, etc. Cut out anything you don't need like coffee or soda. The key is staying within the misc budget so you still have some fun money. We budget ahead for summer/holiday travel and clothes while still contributing to savings. Fine tune the expense numbers each month.
Whatever you have left after income minus expenses will give you a gauge on how well you're saving. Some months will be better than others.
-Avoid using credit cards for new purchases.
-Use online banking and bill pay.
-Save all receipts online (ATM w/drawls too). Verify each expense online.
-Check your online balance and expenses at least every 2-3 days. Helps w/ID fraud too.
Ask your bank about putting your saving account money into at least a 30-day CD. That way, you'll still have access to emergency funds without the easy access to spend on trips or clothes.
It's working for us. It will for you too. Good luck!
If your employer allows have part of your salary paid directly into your emergency account, and while your at it set up another account for future bills calculate what your annual bills like power, car registration etc cost for the year divide by 52 and have a weekly amount to cover this credited to your "future bills account' so when they arrive its no big deal.