Simple Ways To Increase Your Savings

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Hustlers don’t sleep n**** we work the grave shift
F*** that long money n**** get paid quick
And don’t save sh*t
The Game, “Let Us Live”

Sound familiar?  Back in the days, that was my mantra.  I couldn’t wait until I got paid on Friday.  I would leave work early, head to the mall, and buy a few new pieces.  Then I would head to happy hour for a few drinks and laughs.  Next, I would head home, shower, shave, shhh, throw the new clothes on, few spritzes of cologne, and I was out the door.

Many of us lead consumption lifestyles.  We feel that after a week of slaving, we deserve to treat ourselves.  After getting that first taste of real money, too many young people spend carelessly without a care or concern for the future.  As you get older and your debt grows, it always seems like a bad time to start saving.

However, contrary to the lyrics of many great songs, life is long.  If you don’t begin to plan and save, you will find yourself indebted to a future you did not prepare for.  This post will outline some simple ways to increase your savings.

1.)  Imagine Your Future
It’s a simple thought exercise that most of us haven’t engaged in since when were kids.  We would sit and imagine how we wanted our life to play out.  I would imagine large houses with pool tables and arcades.  Unfortunately, far too few of our lives have played out like we envisioned.

Sure, we are doing okay and have a little disposable income, but what about the future?  Take some time, imagine how you want the rest of your life to play out.  Do you want live better then than you are living now?  If so, it’s time to start saving.

2.)  Create A Budget
Creating, organizing, and adhering to a budget is the easiest way get a grip on your financial activity.  Budgets allow you to set and plan both short-term and long-term financial goals.  Short term goals would include paying off credit card “x”, versus a long term goal of becoming debt free.

Budgets require us to take a hard and unflattering look at our financial situation.  Yet, confronting the ugly truth is the first step in creating a budget that works toward your goals.  Even though our debt-burden may be large, a budget allows us to break it down into small manageable pieces.

3.)  Cut Back On Splurges, Impulse Buys, and “Things You Can’t Live Without”
Most people like getting new things.  For many of us, buying new stuff is a form of therapy.  Other individuals see something and just gotta have it.  Some of us “just can’t live without this, or that”.  Stop it.  When making your new budget it is essential to catalog everything. Every impulse buy, shopping spree, and daily latte.

These seemingly one time and innocuous purchases are budget killers.  As with everything, incorporating these purchases as goals within your budget is an excellent way to insure that you adhere to the budget.  It would be a shame to work hard towards a goal, only to realize it had died the death of a thousand cuts.

4.)  Use Direct Deposit
If you keep large amounts of cash handy you will spend it.  It is a temptation that many of us are too weak to fight.  By obtaining a direct deposit account, you can deposit money without ever having to handle it.

If you have a checking account, use your debit card like a checkbook and document all expenses.  Some people can’t get a checking account for various reasons.  If this is the case, explore credit unions and online banks.  Even banks that turn you down for a checking account will sometimes allow you to open a savings account.  You just need an avenue to park a certain amount of money every pay period so that you can meet the goals of your budget.

Following these simple steps will help you increase your savings over the course of time.  It is important to neither set unrealistic savings expectations, nor underfund your savings.  Find a nice balance, usually between 10-15% of your salary.  It’s not too late to start saving and you owe it to yourself to start now.  Remember, keep your savings out of sight, out of mind…and watch the molehill turn into a mountain.

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