69% of adults in the U.S. have less than $1,000 in savings, and of that group, 34% have no savings at all. These numbers make it pretty clear that saving money is one of those “adulting” issues many of us struggle with. We tend to think it requires major lifestyle changes or complicated spreadsheets, but while it does take focus and determination to stick to a budget, it may not be as difficult as you’d expect.
If you’re looking for simple ways to start saving money, these three tricks might help you get started!
1. DO sweat the small stuff
Even if you’re pretty frugal when it comes to big expenses, it can be easy to let little things chip away at your bank account. Maybe you rarely take vacations and have been driving the same car since college, but you have trouble making it out of Target without a fancy candle, seasonal cocktail napkins, and a couple of those paper face masks that make you look like a cute baby animal while they (theoretically) detox your pores. Maybe you’re a rockstar thrift store shopper, but you’re also prone to online impulse buys fueled by social media ads. Thinking about buying an $80 water bottle with a built-in crystal or a gadget designed to cut grapes into quarters for your toddler? Stop and ask yourself how much time you actually spend cutting up grapes. And you already know you don’t need that water bottle.
We’re not saying that you shouldn’t ever buy yourself treats…we’re just suggesting a more mindful approach. If a $6 latte is truly the highlight of your morning, keep enjoying it. If going out to lunch provides a much-needed break from your desk chair, keep going.
But maybe on the days that you know you’re going out for lunch, make coffee at home (add a dash of cinnamon and a splash of vanilla to your travel mug, and—voila!—it’s a treat). And maybe on the days that you’re craving that venti, extra hot, triple-pump caramel machiato, pack yourself a cute mason jar salad and set aside a few minutes of your lunch break for a little fresh air or at least a stroll around the office.
Think of it as preemptive Konmari: if it doesn’t spark joy, don’t buy it in the first place!
2. Keep your budget simple
If you’re the kind of admirably organized human who took color-coded notes in high school and un-ironically asked for a label maker for your last birthday, make all the elaborate Excel sheets you want. However, if you’re like the rest of us, and painstakingly categorizing every purchase feels exhausting, try this formula: 50/30/20.
That’s 50% of your income to necessities, 30% to wants, and 20% to savings. Sure, the line between “need” and “want” can get a little blurry, but it gives you a place to start…and just as importantly, it’s a system that encourages you to at least stop and ask yourself which description best fits the item you’re about to toss into your real or virtual cart.
You can also download a budget and/or savings app if that helps you stay on track. Just be sure to review it periodically to make sure it’s pulling in all your information…and remember that it can’t talk you out of buying that subscription to the Kombucha of the Month Club.
3. Set it and forget it
The saying “out of sight, out of mind” may not apply to everything in life (for example, those Girl Scout cookies you hid in the back of the freezer but still can’t stop thinking about), but when it comes to saving money, it can be a pretty effective approach.
Setting up an automatic savings plan (either through your employer or through an app like one of these) means that before you even see your paycheck hit your checking account balance, part of it has been tucked away into your savings account.
It’s important to be realistic when you’re deciding how much of your income to set aside, and also to familiarize yourself with the process for making an adjustment if needed. It’s exciting to maximize your savings, but you also want to be sure you have enough liquid assets to cover an emergency or unexpected expense.
If you’re asking, “Can’t I just manually transfer money from one account to the other?” the answer is, of course. But will you? Automation helps take out the guesswork.
Where OLC comes in
Whether you’re moving into your very first apartment, or you’re in search of budgeting tips for families, making these simple changes could have a big impact on your savings success. We also invite you to you look beyond your own financial future to see how life insurance may help better protect your loved ones if something were to happen to you.
At Our Life Covered℠, we combine the ease of a clickable journey with the knowledge of expert agents to guide you toward competitively-priced coverage that fits your budget and helps to ease your mind. Visit us today for a no-obligation quote!
Want to learn more about life insurance and talk more about how to work toward a longer, healthier, more financially secure life? Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and LinkedIn, or send us a message directly to join the conversation.