6 Painless Steps to Help You Start Saving Money
For most things you do in life, timing is everything. But, thankfully, anytime is the perfect time to start saving. Whether that means not letting late fees siphon away your hard-earned income, or stashing away cash for your next great adventure, saving takes time and practice. But there are also simple life hacks that can help you take control of your finances, and take the effort (and the hurt) out of saving.
If you’re ready to start making saving second-nature, try some of these tips to see your dollars add up and transform the way you think about saving money.
1. Make your due dates work for you
Do you ever find that the timing of your bills is just far enough away from your payday to cause you some stress? You’re not alone. If many of your bills are hitting around the same time every month and you struggle to pay them all at the same time, change your due dates. LendingClub allows you to change your monthly recurring payment by 15 days on either side of your original payment date without a late fee. Better aligning your bills with your paydays might help smooth your finances enough to allow you to start planning your next step financially.
2. Set recurring calendar reminders for yourself
Life can get hectic and sometimes it’s easy to forget what bill is due on what day. Scrambling to pay a bill at the last minute or forgetting when a payment is due can result in late fees and penalties (ouch). So why not give your memory a rest and set a calendar reminder on your phone or calendar app. Set the reminder a few days before you need to pay the bill to give your payment time to clear—even consider setting two alerts. If you ignore or miss the first one, the second alert will pop up before those late fees do. Now that’s peace of mind.
3. Automate your bill pay
Are you ready to go fully-auto? Even better than creating calendar or app reminders for your bills is setting up monthly automatic payments. It’s easy. Assuming you’ve aligned your bill due dates with your paydays, you should be able to activate auto payments with your payees and never have to worry about writing checks or initiating manual fund transfers ever again. At LendingClub, the option to set up the auto payment feature is built right into the application process—so you won’t have to worry about taking this extra step later on.
4. Put your money to work
Another pain-free way to get a handle on your finances is setting money goals. Instead of lumping all your money together to “pay bills,” think about one goal or job for your money as for paying rent and utilities, and another job as for paying for entertainment or clothes. Think of the first job as “adulting” and the other as “fun” money—and if you’re having a hard time with adulting, put more of your fun money to work! Now that you’re ready to get saving, you’ll create a third one called “future.” Once you’ve divided up your income into these three goals, consider opening separate bank accounts for each purpose.
5. Automatically send a portion of your paycheck to your savings
Does your employer support multiple direct deposits? Get ready to become a savings wizard by automatically sending a portion of your paycheck right into your savings account each time you get paid. When you don’t see the money in your checking account, you are less likely to pull it out of your ATM and spend it. And if you can’t do it through your work, set up a recurring monthly transfer.
6. If you have a recurring bill ending, turn it into savings
Many of us are used to budgeting for a monthly car payment or student loan. If you have an ongoing bill that is about to stop, simply pretend you still have to pay that bill. Set up an automatic transfer to a new savings account for the same amount and on the same day. If you managed to pay it before, you can manage to keep doing it. The difference is that this time you’re paying yourself. It’s amazing how much you can save for yourself with this one tip!
Remember that getting started is the hardest part, but once you’ve set up your reminders and automatic payments, your savings will start to grow. Don’t worry about whether you’re able to put all or just a few of these tips into action. Every small step you take is a big step in the right direction.
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