Spending comes easily to many of us, but learning how to save can help much more in the long run. One reason saving may seem more difficult is all the necessary expenses you incur like rent or mortgage payments and food. You may think you have heard it all before about cutting back spending, but everyday habits and attitudes may be keeping you from reaching your savings goals.
1. Not Keeping Track
One of the best ways to increase savings is tracking your costs and creating a budget every month. This way, you can see where your money is going and set attainable goals without totally compromising your lifestyle. It’s important to distinguish needs from wants so you can cut back on “extras” if need be.
2. Refusing to Cut Back
If you are not willing to cut costs to boost your savings, you will likely fail to see consistent growth in your savings. It’s a good idea to break any splurging habits you have (like if you can never stroll through a certain store without spending), create a more frugal budget and search for painless ways to spend less. Some ways to do this — ignore sales, eat out less, consider doing for yourself some of the things you currently pay others to do and switch to generic products. You can unsubscribe from retail emails and change your usual walking route so you aren’t tempted by the book or outfit in the window you pass.
3. Not Being Prepared
You cannot always predict what will happen to you and the costs you may face. The money you were socking away for savings may end up being swallowed up by an unexpected expense. Having an emergency fund separate from your savings will help insulate your savings goals against whatever may come. Every little bit helps but it’s a good idea to work toward having three to nine months’ worth of expenses in your emergency fund. This can help ensure you don’t go into debt when one of these unexpected major expenses arise. The lifetime cost of debt is staggering, and a better credit score can help you lower that cost. You can check two of your credit scores for free on Credit.com to see where you stand.
4. Holding Too Much Debt
If your debt load is siphoning your potential savings, you will likely stay in the red for a long time. As soon as you secure a reasonable emergency fund, it’s a good idea to aggressively tackle your debt. Whether you choose to pay off the highest-interest-rate debts first or pay down the smallest balances first, it’s important that you commit to paying it all off. The faster you free yourself of debt, the more money you will free up to meet your savings goals.
5. Making Excuses
Last but certainly not least, your attitude may be holding you back from savings. It may be easy to think of reasons holding you back from saving but these are only mental roadblocks getting in the way of a secure financial future. Try to change how you view your fiscal priorities so you can focus on what actually gets you to your goals.
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