"12 easy ways to save for your future" by Nanci Hellmich
1. Create a Budget
This does not mean your are limiting yourself financially but rather telling your money where to go. It helps you set priorities so you become more focused and save for your goals.
2. Cut Spending Without Feeling Deprived
Find little ways to cut back without feeling like you are strapping yourself. For example, eating out everyday or cutting back on cable. Small changes can make a huge difference in your retirement.
3. Don't Make Minimum Payments on Credit Card Debt
Paying only the minimum means it will take double sometimes even triple the time to pay off debt. Pay down the interest as quick as possible by paying more the minimum payment. Ideally, you pay off the credit card balance every month.
4. Negotiate Better Interest Rates on your Credit Cards
Talk with your credit card company. Don't be afraid to try some negotiation with them.
5. Don't Dig Yourself Deeper into Debt
Change your behaviors. Do not continue a lifestyle that means debt piling on top of debt. Debt is usually caused by downsizing, divorce, death of main breadwinner, disability and disease. It will not change over night, it takes time and patience.
6. Turbocharge your Savings
If your employer offers some sort of retirement plan, PARTICIPATE in it! Especially if the employer has a match to add.
7. Consider Another Turbocharged Option
Individual Development Account (IDA) is a program for low to moderate-income people who want to save toward a specific goal such as a down payment on a home, college or job training. Non-profit groups, companies and government agencies help support the accounts by matching the funds in the accounts.
8. Sell Things you Aren't Using
Have a garage sale or sell online! Get rid of old items you no longer use.
9. Adjust your Withholding
Tax refunds can be nice but wouldn't you rather have that money in your pocket everyday instead of just once a year? Adjust your withholdings on your paycheck and increase your savings accordingly.
10. Take Advantage of Pretax Savings Accounts through your Employer
There are many pretax savings incentives employers offer such as flexible savings accounts, health savings accounts, depend day care flex savings account and transportation flexible spending accounts. If you are going to spend the money, get the savings too!
11. Plan for the Unexpected
Have an emergency savings so that any unexpected circumstances are covered and you don't need to dip into your retirement.
12. Learn to Cook
This can save you in many, many ways. You eat out less, have a healthier meal and buy less pre-packaged foods. And the long-term advantages can be both financial and healthwise.