An unexpected car repair payment here, a new pair of glasses there: If you constantly spend your savings when an unplanned expense appears (or you think one teeny weeny weekend getaway won't make that much of a dent), soon you won't have any money saved at all. Follow these five saving tips to avoid dipping into your cash so you can use it for its real purpose: to purchase a home, a car, a life-changing trip or for an actual emergency.
Have a Goal in Mind
You want to know how to save more money -- but what exactly are you saving for? Do you need a backup fund in case of job loss? A down payment for your dream home? A three-week trip to Asia? Whatever it is, know exactly why you're squirrelling away your hard-earned dollars and you'll be less likely to drain your account for unnecessary expenses.
Take a look at your salary and your fixed monthly expenses (such as rent, hydro, groceries, car payments) and think about how much you can realistically afford to save. If you're putting $200 away each month but then consistently removing $100 before the month is over, your savings goal is impractical, or you need to be stricter about following a budget.
Create a Budget
This step doesn’t have to be overly complicated, but creating a simple spreadsheet that tracks your monthly spending goes a long way in helping you save. Enter your monthly income, then track what money comes out for expenses and bills, put some budget aside for entertainment (eating out or going to the movies), and then put some money aside for savings. You’ll quickly be able to see what you have available for savings. Even a small amount put towards savings will add up. Be diligent and dedicated and it will pay off.
Two Words: Automatic Payments
If you are carrying a credit card balance, set up an automatic payment once or twice a month that comes right off your pay cheque. When it comes time to pay your monthly bill, you’ll be pleasantly surprised at the lower balance, and you'll adjust to living on a slightly lower income without too much struggle.
Use Your Credit Card Wisely
Thoughtful spending is a key way to save. Choose a credit card such as a President’s Choice Financial® Mastercard® that earns PC Optimum points* each time you use it and you'll be able to redeem the points for future grocery purchases..
Save to Spend
There will always be unexpected expenses that pop up throughout the year, even if you do your best to plan ahead. Maybe your car suddenly needs new brakes, or many of your family or friends have babies over one summer and you need to buy gifts. Whatever the situation, if you budget a small amount that you're allowed to dip into when necessary, you'll have planned for the unexpected and won't deplete the bulk of your savings.