Most people will have at least one crisis or unexpected expense in their life. You may face unexpected medical bills, car repairs, home repairs or any other number of emergencies. Having money stashed away in a savings account will keep you from financial ruin should the unexpected happen, but you may find it hard to save money – especially when you have very little to work with. Thankfully, even the strictest budgets have a little wiggle room. With a little planning, and a lot of dedication, you can start saving.
Create a basic household budget to figure out where your money goes. Calculate your income. Write down the total cost of all of your fixed expenses, such as rent, loan payments or car insurance. Estimate the cost of all of your variable expenses such as utility payments and groceries. Estimate the cost of your entertainment each month, such as dining out or buying concert tickets. Subtract your fixed and variable expenses from your monthly income.
Decide whether to put all or a portion of your excess income toward savings. Write the total amount you decide as your base savings amount. Aim to save at least this much each month.
Review your current budget to see where you can make cuts. Reduce or eliminate your entertainment costs. Add this total to your monthly savings goal.
Review your budget for subscription services and other unnecessary charges such as cable TV or gym memberships. Cancel these services. Add the total of your canceled services to your savings goal.
Find ways to reduce your variable costs. Start shopping sales and using coupons at the grocery store to lower you food bill. Turn off the lights when you leave a room and run your air conditioner at a higher temperature to lower your utility bill. Save the receipts from your variable expenses and calculate how much you saved after one month. Add this total to your savings goal.
Open a savings account at a local bank. Pay the minimum required to open the account.
Adopt the “pay yourself first" mentality. Divide your savings goal by the number of paychecks you receive each month to determine how much you must save from each pay period. Deposit the total amount into your savings account each payday, before spending any of your paycheck.
Consider setting up automatic transfers into your savings account. Transferring the money automatically will ensure you make the deposit each time.
- Consider setting up automatic transfers into your savings account. Transferring the money automatically will ensure you make the deposit each time.
Amelia Jenkins has more than eight years of professional writing experience, covering financial, environmental and travel topics. Her work has appeared on MSN and various other websites and her articles have topped the best-of list for sites like Bankrate and Kipplinger. Jenkins studied English at Tarrant County College.