Once you have outlined a budget, setting money aside is your next step. If you’re not comfortable diving in right away, then start with small amounts. Remember, it’s important to be disciplined and committed. It’s easy to spend money; things add up. Every dollar saved is a dollar earned (I know this sounds like a cliché, but it’s true)
- Shop around (specially for big ticket items)
- Find bargains (shop online, signup for club cards)
- Use coupons (don’t worry about having to carry coupons around, Smartphone Apps can send them electronically)
- Lower your Heater settings (wear warm clothes while at home)
- Reduce AC usage; open windows during summer (fresh breeze is always good!)
- Turn off lights after leaving room
- Change light bulbs around the house (LED bulbs are pricier but they payoff in the long run)
- Install solar panels (they’re are cheap- it’s a tax write-off)
- Travel during low season
- Ride a bicycle
Most people can cut their monthly expenses significantly by learning to give up small daily expenditures like coffee or snacks. Buy a coffee maker, cut down on the addiction to Starbucks (I know it’s hard but will eat away your savings). Shop in bulk (Costco). The idea is keep increasing your contribution over time, save more money every year, and build you nest egg.
Here’s a personal story… After moving to San Diego and having had a salary increase, I was spending a grip of money every weekend on restaurants, bars, food, clothing, etc,. (non-essential items). In terms of saving, I had absolutely nothing to show for. Then it hit me, just because I was making more money that didn’t mean I could blow it with reckless abandonment. Being a bachelor promoted this kind of behavior and lifestyle. Things such as: lack of responsibilities, the feeling of nothing to tie us down, minimal financial commitment. Those early years were lessons learned.
I have met countless number of people that looked puzzled after I asked them one simple question: “Where do you see yourself in say 3-4 years from now?” Don’t be that person!! Be prepared, have a plan, and start setting financial goals.