Saving the money we earn is an important habit that many of us struggle with. Whether this is because our wages are low, our expenses are high, or a mix of both, it is important to try and learn this skill as early as possible in our careers.
The more you can save, then the freer you will be to make your own choices and pursue your own ideals of happiness. To start you on your way to financial freedom here are three easy steps that anyone can make today.
1. Set yourself a Budget
By setting a budget you are actually sitting down and consciously looking at how much you earn, where you spend it, and how much of it goes where. This will make you more mindful of your money and will give you cause to think before you make large spends.
2. Choose the way you want to save
Not all of us work the same, spend the same, or are paid the same. Some of us know exactly what our salary will be and when we will get paid, some of us live on a more fluid contractual basis. You know which you are, and you know which way to save will work best for you.
But really, in the end it comes down to two basic choices: save big or save small.
Once you’ve got a budget in place and you’ve learned to stick to it, you understand your money more. Give yourself a few months to get used to this. Once you know more about your real spending needs you will be able to make a judgement about what portion of your salary you can ‘do without’. It doesn’t have to be enormous, and it doesn’t always have to be the same amount, but earmark that money and pop it away somewhere the day you get paid. Then it’s out of your head, and every single penny left in that account is yours to spend and enjoy.
Maybe saving in a lump sum isn’t the way for you; it doesn’t mean you still can’t save. Do it a different way, put away small amounts instead whenever you get the chance. The old adage look after the pennies and the pounds will look after themselves is a good one. Buy a coffee on Monday, get 28p change, and put that 28p into an unbreakable piggy bank or in a digital saving account thanks to Oval Money. Do this every time you buy something and it will all add up.
3. Put it out of reach
Honestly; it’s all very well to say you won’t touch that fifty quid you set aside this month, but when the chips are down and you’ve eaten pasta and sweetcorn for three nights running you are absolutely going to dip into that money for a nice bottle of red and some fresh vegetables.
Put the money you choose to save away at the end of each saving period, whether you set this period as weekly, monthly, six weekly, it doesn’t matter. Find a place to put that cash that you can’t get to on a whim.
It doesn’t matter how you save, why you save, or how much you save. Saving is saving, and at the end of the month, or week, or year, you will find yourself with cash that you didn’t even realise you had. This will give you access to choices you didn’t even realise you could make.