Saturday, January 28, 2006

Save money on a limited income

If you find it difficult to pay the bills every month, you may wonder how on earth it is possible to actually save money. It can be done, even on a limited income, and you will find that having even a small amount of savings will give you a sense of security that you did not have before. It is a good feeling to know that if an emergency arises, you can take care of it.

One way to painlessly save money is to invest in your company's 401K plan, if one is available. Many companies will match the amount that you set aside, sometimes as much as ten percent, so to not participate is akin to turning down free money. Since the money comes directly out of your check, you never see it, and you can set your budget using the money that you actually take home. If your workplace does not offer a 401K, ask if they offer a way for a percentage of your check to be directly deposited into savings. Not seeing the money in your check in the first place is one of the easiest ways to save.

Another trick that makes it easier to save money is to save money towards a specific goal. For example, you could have a savings account for a down payment on a house, or a cigar box with money that you stash for a long weekend at the beach. Everyone's financial goals are different, but if you identify what yours are, it will be easier to save. One way to easily save money for a smaller goal is to put your change in a jar at the end of every day. The quarters, nickels and dimes quickly add up, and at the end of the year, you may have enough money for that long weekend.

Try setting up a savings or investment account, and pay the account a set amount of money each month just as you would any other bill. If you give your savings priority in this manner, you will find that you have money in your savings account before you give yourself the opportunity to spend the money on eating out, morning coffee and similar money devouring habits. Perhaps you will need to take your lunch to work that month, but you will have savings.

Cutting down on eating out, or eliminating it outright, except for special occasions, can save you a great deal of money. One way that you could determine the amount to put into your savings account every month is to figure out how much you are spending on lunches every month. If you are spending $125, set aside $100 for savings every month and take your lunch. Of course, it will still cost you money to take your lunch, instead of purchasing it at a restaurant, but the cost will only be a fraction of what you are now spending.

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