Saving for retirement – or any reason – is not always easy.
And getting started seems impossible. But in most cases, you can always eek out something. And paying yourself first is the first step in the road to financial freedom. Imagine never having to worry about where you will get the money for a new tire… or if your child can go on the extra field trip because of the cost. Imagine having money in the bank and not worrying.
Well, let’s start by stating the goal, and then talk about how to get there.
Simply put: Every year, save more than the year before
Now, I know that is very easy to say. And if you’ve been having trouble getting started, I have a simple strategy to get you going.
- Start small. It’s so easy to overextend yourself. But the best successes I have seen are with people who start small and grow their savings over time.
- Use every opportunity to save. I got started saving by collecting my change. Every penny, dime, nickle and quarter I received as change, I put in a tin – and then once a month I would put it in savings. It was a great way for me to see how change can add up. I still do that – I have a ceramic piggy bank and my change goes in there once a week. I only empty it about once a year – but it often is enough for a really fun surprise treat.
- Don’t pull the money out. This one can be really hard. But you should only take money out of your savings for true emergencies. If you can wait to spend the money until your next paycheck, you should. If you make saving a priority, your life will change.
- Don’t get discouraged. It is often difficult to see how far your money can go long term. That’s why I’ve included a free savings calculator from bankrate.com. To use it, just enter in the amount you can start with (enter $1 if you are fairly broke). Then add in how much you think you can save monthly. If it is just $5 put that in. If you can squeeze out $10 or $25, put that in too. You will be able to see how increasing your savings a little bit will pay off in the long term. Give it a try now:
Often, just by seeing the numbers down on paper, you can get excited about saving a little bit. I know when I first started, it seemed like I wasn’t getting anywhere fast, but I stuck with it. Suddenly the number starts to grow – and you feel great about having started. So don’t put it off any longer. Get started as soon as you can. It may be only a nickle, or a dollar, but start.
And next year – save more than you did this year. If you can do that, you will be well on your way to a life of security… without the worries of money.