The New Year has officially begun, and the first resolution that you’ve added to your to-do list is to save more money. So, how do you start? Here are three simple ways that you can cross this resolution right off your list.
1. Prepare for Emergencies
An emergency fund won’t seem like it saves you money — that is, until you need to use it. In the same way that a helmet seems unnecessary until you fall off your bicycle or a fire extinguisher seems unnecessary until your dinner goes up in flames, you won’t be grateful that you took this precaution until something goes wrong.
By preparing for the worst, you can save yourself some money. You can dip into your fund and handle emergency costs right away, without having to drain your budget or max out a credit card. You can pay and move on.
So, what should you do? Start small with a rainy-day fund — this is designed to cover small emergencies like plumbing trouble or urgent trips to the dentist. These are situations that are essential and need to be dealt with immediately. If you’re dealing with a small emergency and there’s not enough in your rainy-day fund just yet, you could submit a request for a line of credit through CreditFresh as a back-up plan and deal with the situation quickly.
A line of credit is a form of revolving credit, so you can manage the repayments and use the account again in the future. It could be a useful safety net in a bad situation.
Is a rainy-day fund enough? You can prepare for bigger things than plumbing problems and car repairs. You can start working on an emergency fund to get ready for major life upheavals that will affect your income, like getting sick or losing your job. Some financial experts recommend saving three to six months of your salary inside of your emergency fund. Once you’re done with the rainy-day savings, you can set your sights on this ambitious goal.
2. Make a Budget
A budget can help you see exactly how much money you have and what you spend every month. Putting it together, you might realize that your current expenses surpass your income. Using the guidelines of the budget, you can figure out what costs you need to cut so that you stop spending beyond your means and digging your way into debt. You can download one of the top budgeting apps on your smartphone or take the DIY-approach by filling out a spreadsheet on your computer.
What else is great about this resolution? A budget makes it easier to reach your savings goals. See what savings you can squeeze out every month so that you can build up your kid’s college fund, your retirement fund or your household emergency fund.
3. Stop Impulse Shopping
Impulse shopping is expensive. This year, you can save yourself a lot of money by breaking this habit for good. Here are some tips that can help you do it:
- Use ad blockers on your smartphone and computer.
- Stop following retailers on social media. Or, at the very least, mute them.
- Remove yourself from retailer newsletters and mailing lists.
- Don’t go window shopping or browse online stores for fun.
- Find healthy stress-relievers instead of shopping, like going for a walk, listening to music or calling a friend.
Making an emergency fund, following a budget and breaking your habit of making impulse purchases are guaranteed to save you money. You’re going to see a big difference with your bank account by the end of the year.