Many people have dreams for their lives that could easily become reality if they had the discipline necessary to save for those dreams. Unfortunately, however, a high percentage of people in the United States don't even have a savings account.
The best way to learn how to start saving is when you are young. If you have small children, it's in their best interests to take the time necessary to teach them the basic fundamentals of saving for their future.
Saving for specific goals is a good place to start. When a person has a goal, for example, perhaps your child wants to purchase a new bicycle, it becomes easier to save for that goal. It's important to not only learn how to save to purchase something in the future, but to also save for unexpected expenses, and in the long-term, even retirement. When you learn how to pay yourself first, you are developing good money management practices.
Some financial planners stress the need to save at least 10 percent of your pay. But before you say, "hold on, I can't afford that!" let's look at some ways you can free up some cash to start that savings program:
- Keep an eye on ATM fees. While it is convenient to use your ATM card everywhere these days, many ATM machines are charging fees ranging from $1.00 to $2.00. Use your card 30 times a month (which is about average), and you can be wasting between $30 and $60 that could be deposited into your savings account.
- Deposit your change in a special jar at the end of the day. And on the last day of the month take the jar to the bank and put the money into your savings account.
- If you eat lunch at restaurants most of the time, start brown bagging your lunch several days a week. But remember to put the money you save into your savings.
- Raise your insurance deductibles, and make sure you are taking advantage of any insurance discounts that are available. Again, put the money you save away for a rainy day.
These are just a few examples that may apply to most people. But everyone's financial situation is unique, so spend a few minutes brainstorming for ways you can cut your expenses. And don't forget to put the money you save into your savings account. The future is closer than you think; start saving today and you'll be glad you did.
See also: Managing Debt, Home Budgeting, and Credit Cards