People that know me best call me frugal, cheap, money-savvy, and an excellent saver.
These are all titles I wear like badges of honor. Over the years I've amassed some tips that can help you kick-start your savings, or give what you have a boost.
1. Change Your View on Income
Your income is any incoming cash or monies that you are free to do with what you please, also known as revenue. The rate is usually bi-weekly, but it can vary. Income is what you pay bills with, what you use to fuel your savings goals, and what you spend on needs and wants. Income can quickly be depleted and become an outgoing expense.
My personal mindset is my money is only there to pay off my obligations. My obligations include my life-expenses, my bills, my 401k contribution, and my investments.
Having that mentality helps me not to spend unnecessarily. The money that is deposited into my account every two weeks is just for necessities, so anything extra goes to my savings. This allows me to have extra for emergencies and for those rare occasions when I do decide to splurge.
2. Spending Habits
The rule of thumb is to save 10%, spend 80%, and donate 10% to charity or to religious causes, if you fit into that category.
I am the reverse of that thinking. I spend what is necessary for my bills, donate 10% for charity, and save the rest. So, I end up saving about 65% of my income each month.
That helps me to grow my savings very quickly.
3. Be SMART
It can be tough to do adult things sometimes, like investing in your 401k, and opting into all your insurances, but you have to. Below are a few things that I make sure I always have.
You never need insurance, until you need it. And it's better to have it and never need it, then to need it and not have it. Paying only $40 dollars a month for a policy is nothing compared to losing everything you own in a fire, or needing to cover $15,000 for a funeral.
Invest At least 7% in employee matched 401k
Active Life Insurance policy with updated beneficiaries Death Benefit (<= $50,000)
Active Life Insurance; Short Term Disability
Active Life Insurance; Long Term Disability
Active Renters Insurance OR Home Owners insurance (<= $100,000)
Draft a Will
* Have at least $50,000 for your death benefit to cover the cost of a funeral and to pay off any living debts that could be passed to your family
* Get life insurance as soon as possible upon graduating college. The younger you are, the cheaper and easier it will be to get life insurance.
4. Savings 'Challenges'
These are fun little challenges that can add up to big bucks. My favorites are below.
365 or 12 Month Challenge : This is where you put away a certain amount of money depending on the day. For the 365 challenge, you stash away the dollar amount on the corresponding day. So on day one, you stash away $1 dollar. On day 27, you stash away $27 dollars and so on. When you are done, you'll have almost $1400.00.
5. Limit, Don't Restrict
My most important tip is, although it is important to save, don't completely restrict yourself. On occasion, treat yourself, buy yourself something nice, and don't take it to the extreme. You will only make yourself miserable.