The first step to start saving money is to figure out how much you spend. Keep track of all your expenses—that means every coffee, household item and cash tip.
Once you have an idea of what you spend in a month, you can begin to organize your recorded expenses into a workable budget . Your budget should outline how your expenses measure up to your income—so you can plan your spending and limit overspending.
One of the best ways to save money is to set a goal. Start by thinking of what you might want to save for—perhaps you’re getting married, planning a vacation or saving for retirement. Then figure out how much money you’ll need and how long it might take you to save it.
After your expenses and income, your goals are likely to have the biggest impact on how you allocate your savings. Be sure to remember long-term goals—it’s important that planning for retirement doesn’t take a back seat to shorter-term needs.
Almost all banks offer automated transfers between your checking and savings accounts. You can choose when, how much and where to transfer money or even split your direct deposit so a portion of every paycheck goes directly into your savings account.
Review your budget and check your progress every month. Not only will this help you stick to your personal savings plan, but it also helps you identify and fix problems quickly. Understanding how to save money may even inspire you to find more ways to save and hit your goals faster.
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