You need to save your money for a rainy day, and you need to start now before those storm clouds appear on the horizon. The past few years have shown that saving up isn’t just a good idea, it’s a NECESSARY strategy, no matter what your debt load is right now. And sometimes savings is a matter of not spending money you don’t have to spend.
Start a Savings Account
If you don’t already have one, it’s time to sign up for a savings account at your local bank. This will help you grow a small nest egg for life’s unpredictable disasters. You can also look into savings accounts through companies like ING that can offer higher interest rates.
Sign up for a 401K
When you work for a larger company, signing up for their 401K plan is essential. Each money, pay into the account as much as you can afford, tax free. Though you will pay taxes to take the money back out, this long term strategy is pain-free and it can ensure you have money when you retire.
Don’t Pay Additional Fees
Chronically late with bill paying? If that sounds like you, you’re probably paying fees you don’t need to pay. That’s not helping your savings grow. Instead, sign up for bill paying services that do the work for you – and on time. Also, if you have to go to the ATM, make sure you go to ATMs that are run by your bank so you’re not spending additional fees for the service.
Watch Your Driving Habits
Ideally, you should choose a car that is fuel efficient so you’re not spending as much money on gas. You can also cut down on driving costs by properly maintaining your car and bundling errands into one trip instead of several smaller trips. And it never hurts to look at your local public transportation systems to help you get where you need to go for less than your car’s gas costs.
Borrow, Don’t Buy
Whenever possible, borrow things you need instead of buying them. Libraries are a great resource for books and videos, and there are sites that will allow you to borrow everything from fancy outfits to brand name purses and shoes.
Used is Good Too
While thrift stores might not seem to be the best place to go shopping, it’s better to buy used goods than to buy new ones – they’re cheaper and still good quality. If you’re worried about thrift stores, check out consignment shops that offer higher quality goods, but still at lower prices.
Bulk Buying Make Sense
If you have to buy non-perishable items, buy them in bulk. Since they’re not going to go bad, you can save money and always have the items you need on hand.
Rebates and Referrals
Whenever you sign up for a new service, make sure you see if there are rebates available. Often, all you need to do is fill out a short form to get a credit card or a check for $25 or more. Some companies also offer customers the chance to earn money when they refer friends and family. Phone companies especially are looking into this strategy to help their current customers save money.