With the new year only days away, most people will be making their lists of upcoming resolutions and changes that they want to make going forward. If you’ve had some trouble with your finances in the past, then “save more money” is likely to be one of the things that you want to do as we head into 2020. However, we all know that saving cash can be tougher than it seems.
Fortunately for those who struggle with their finances, there are a few ways that you can boost your chances of saving more in 2020 and reaching your short-term or long-term goals. Here are our top simple tips for streamlined saving in the year ahead.
Follow A Budget
First things first, the most important thing you can do if you want to get your savings on track, is follow a budget. Budgeting might seem like something that restricts your spending at first. However, the truth is that it actually gives you the power to see what’s really happening with your money each month.
Additionally, creating a budget is much simpler than it seems. To get started, all you need to do is create a list of your recurring monthly expenses, as well as some of your expenses that appear every now and again throughout the year. If you don’t have enough money left over for savings after you’ve considered all your regular costs, look for ways to trim back.
Understand the Difference Between Needs and Wants
To most people, this seems like a pretty basic tip. You know that a caramel latte is a want and food is a need. However, sometimes the lines can blur. For instance, you might tell yourself that you don’t really need a loan for a new car if you can afford to buy a cheap motor with the money that’s in your emergency savings account.
However, sometimes, taking on credit can be a better idea, because it means that you can manage the cost of a large expense over a long period of time, and keep your emergency savings too. Plus, it sometimes helps to spend more on an item that you’re going to need to last for a long period of time. Think carefully about what wants and needs actually mean.
Put Your Effort on Autopilot
If you often struggle with things like willpower or impulse buying, then you can make budgeting in 2020 a lot easier by taking the chances of a mistake out of your hands. For instance, we’re all tempted to spend the extra money that we see in our bank accounts after we’re finished paying for bills and regular expenses. However, that often means that you don’t put the cash that you wanted to save into your savings account.
To prevent this from happening, figure out how much you want to save each month, and set up a recurring payment to your savings account from your checking account. Most banks will allow you to do this. That will automate your savings and make it less likely that you’ll spend what you really wanted to save.
Budget for Fun
Budgeting isn’t just about cutting out all the fun in your life, so you have more money for things like bills and savings. While it’s true that you will need to make some compromises in where you spend your money, you shouldn’t be cutting all of the exciting things out of your financial plan. If you don’t budget for fun things every now and again, then you have more of a chance that you’ll end up as a frustrated and unhappy budgeter.
Additionally, people who don’t budget for fun are less likely to stick to their budget, because their frustration will end up pushing them off the wagon. Give yourself a little bit of leeway based on what you know you can afford.
Finally, adjustments will need to be made as you go with your budget. Lots of people think that budgets are set in stone and need to be adhered to at all costs. However, the truth is that your life will change regularly, and your budget will need to change with it. Don’t be afraid to come back to your budget from time to time and make updates based on what you learn.
You might find that your original expectations were unrealistic, and you need to give yourself some more money to spend on the things that you enjoy. That’s fine – just make sure you have a plan.
Andrea Schmidt is a staff writer for Wealthy Turtle. She’s a stay at home mom who loves to write about paying down her family’s debt, living on a budget, and exploring new side hustles to earn extra money.