Resolve to Stash More Cash This Year
You can grow savings faster than you might think. Why not resolve to save more cash in the new year and enjoy the rewards of saving?
Some people are born savers. They prudently put aside a portion of each paycheck. Others can’t seem to save at all and are often reduced to living paycheck to paycheck.
There is a happy medium. Anyone with the desire to improve his or her finances can become a saver, no matter what income level you are at. It is a deceptively simple formula: spend less than you earn. Easier said than done, but here is a closer look at why savings are so important.
8 reasons to resolve to stash more cash this year
Do you need a little incentive to start saving? One or more of these reasons should do the trick.
1. You want to retire someday, right?
Well, those years of leisure will be much more comfortable if you plan ahead and save money for that day. (See How to Get Started Saving for Retirement in Your 20s, 30s and 40s.)
2. Stuck in a crummy job?
Invest in your future by taking some online courses, enrolling in college, or becoming an intern at a place you’d love to work. (See The Best Adult Education Resources.)
3. Oh no!
The car broke down again. Or the fridge is on the fritz. Or the roof is leaking. Something is going to happen.
Before a relatively minor mishap turns into a major financial disaster, build an emergency fund for those unexpected potholes in the road of life.
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4. Escape to a tropical paradise.
Plan for your dream vacation and someday you’ll be lounging on the beach. Even if you only save a tiny amount each month, your dream fund will grow. (See Vacation Planning That Won’t Break Your Budget.)
5. Plan ahead.
Your son is suddenly taller than you. Pretty soon he’ll need some money for a car, college, or maybe an apartment.
If you start saving when your kids are young, you will have a tidy sum by the time it is time to cut the apron strings. (See The Time to Plan for Your Kids’ College Is Now.)
6. You’ve just been offered the opportunity of a lifetime.
Be ready when that door opens by having some ready cash to finance your future. (See How Does Opportunity Cost Factor into Your Finances?.)
7. You had to borrow money from Mom to pay the rent again.
Wipe out those feelings of guilt and shame by taking control of your finances. You’ll be free and independent when you can rely on a savings fund.
8. Have no more sleepless nights.
What if your company suddenly went bankrupt? What if your home was flooded? What if your rent or adjustable mortgage payments go sky high?
Keep these what-ifs at bay with your emergency fund.
How to get started saving
Hopefully, I’ve sold you on the benefits of a savings fund. How do you start, though?
The first step is to get in touch with your current situation. Find out exactly where your money is going. The easiest way to do this is to keep a money journal for at least a month. Write down all expenditures and keep track of every penny. Or use some of the great free apps and software available.
Mint.com is an all-inclusive site that helps with money management, budgeting, updating accounts, advice, and keeping track of your credit score with free apps. Expensify offers smart scan, adding expenses, tracking time, and tracking distance. Another free app that uses the envelope system is Goodbudget. It is a great tool for personal budgeting.
No matter how you track your money, a budget should fall into place with the bills and regular expenses like food and household items taking precedence over extras. But what if there is nothing left to save?
Some general rules and tools for saving money
The key to savings is to pay yourself first. Aim for 10% of your take-home income, but any amount is better than nothing. Start a savings account if you don’t have one already. You can easily set up an automatic deposit before you get your check and will probably not even miss that little bit.
Remember the basic rule of saving? Spend less than you earn. If you can’t cut expenses any further, you must increase your income. Here are some ideas to get you started.
Use coupons and deposit what you save. Save up coins and cash them in every few months. Take on a second job doing something you love, like babysitting, being a substitute playground monitor at your child’s school, working part time in a store you enjoy, or selling fun items at home parties. Or you can start your own side gig.
Get the interest you deserve. Compare CD rates with this anonymous tool from a Dollar Stretcher trusted partner.
Once you start to build a savings fund, you will be amazed at how fast it grows. Having that cushion increases your peace of mind, which is priceless. It feels great knowing that you are capable of controlling unexpected expenses.
Resolve to stash more cash this new year and enjoy the rewards of saving.
Reviewed July 2021
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