Source: Unsplash | Sabine Peters
When you’re young, life is easy.
The chances are that you spent most of your teenage years enjoying the present, not worrying about what you were going to do with your pension, or how early you’d be able to retire. As you get a little older and start earning a monthly wage, concerns about finances start to creep in. Eventually, you realise that the quicker you start preparing for the future, the better off you’ll be.
If you’ve recently taken a look at your bank account and you’re starting to think that you should have paid more attention to your savings 10 years ago, don’t panic. There are plenty of ways that you can start saving more money quickly from today onwards.
1. Start Budgeting, Immediately
The best way to get more control over your money, is to understand how cash flows in and out of your life each month. The first time you create a budget, the chances are you’ll discover money that you didn’t know you had going towards a subscription or service that you don’t need. Without a budget, it’s easy to spend cash carelessly, because you have no idea how much you’re really using each month. However, when you start to watch your cash, you can find a way to make the most out of every penny.
With your budget, concentrate on giving every pound a purpose. Start by dedicating as much cash as you can towards necessary costs, paying off your loans such as those offered by HappyPenguin.com, and filling your emergency fund. After that, you can split whatever you have leftover into future savings, and present “wants”.
2. Pay Closer Attention to your Bills
There are specific bills in our lives that we have to deal with, whether we like it or not. You can’t cut “food”, or “electricity” out of your budget just because you want more cash to spend on entertainment. However, you can take a closer look at those essential expenses and find out whether you could be spending more than you need to be.
A lot of us sign up for things like gas and electricity deals or broadband packages and then forget all about them. However, there are new offers arriving on the market almost constantly. Every few months, check out your average expenses for monthly essentials, and see whether you could save by switching to a different provider or package.
3. Make the Most of your Skills
Even if you’re lucky enough to have a job doing something that you’re passionate about, there’s a chance that you might not be making the most of your skills. If you have a talent that you can teach or share with someone else, then you could have an extra source of income that you’re not taking advantage of. For instance, there are countless eLearning and webinar platforms available online today that allow would-be teachers to create lessons that they can share for a price online.
If you can create videos that teach someone how to code, play the guitar, or even cook, then you could make some money from that. Just make sure you advertise yourself properly on social media to boost your chances of supplementing your income.
4. Make One Big Change
One reason that people often struggle with budgeting, is because they tell themselves that they need to change everything about their life to become more frugal. However, the truth is that most of the time, little changes, like saving your spare cash after you pay for a meal or investing pennies rather than letting them gather dust in your home can make a huge difference.
If you want to feel like you’re doing something significant to change your financial strategy, then don’t try to change too much at once. Instead, focus on one big thing. For instance, maybe you’re going to commit to only driving 3 days a week instead of using your car constantly. This would mean carpooling more often with friends, biking, or walking to work. The result could be some significant savings in petrol and car maintenance.
5. Focus on One Goal at a Time
Finally, the right attitude can go a long way when you’re working on your savings strategy. If you get carried away thinking about all the things you could do if you just a had a bit more money, you might lose your motivation if you’re not moving towards your goals as quickly as you would like. With that in mind, think about what you want to accomplish with your savings right now.
Focus on one little goal at a time, like cutting your spending on food by $20 each month or getting rid of at least 3 subscriptions in the next 6 months. This way, you’ll only be giving yourself small, manageable challenges, rather than trying to tackle too much at once.