Fast Money Blog
Five simple steps to help you save
Building wealth isn’t about what you make. It’s about what you keep. And saving money starts with good spending habits. These days it’s even harder to avoid unnecessary and impulse purchases. After all, you don’t need to leave your home or get off the couch to buy anything. You can have a new wardrobe with a few clicks of a button, order food in seconds, and find all types of “must-haves” on your phone. So the good spending habits that might have worked for your parents’ generation don’t necessarily work for you.
Here are five simple steps to help you save for more important things–like retirement, buying a home or paying off debt.
Make a budget
We know, this is nothing new. But it’s hard to avoid spending beyond your means when you don’t know how much you can afford. A budget needs to be more than the sum of all your bills and expenses. It also needs to include savings goals for the future, such as college, buying a home, vacations, retirement and an emergency fund. Break your budget into categories and record all of your spending once a week.
You can create your budget in a spreadsheet, use one of many free online tools or even a notebook. The most important thing is that you not only know how much money you are spending, but what you are spending it on.
Designate one day a week as online “buying” day
If you want to shop online everyday, go right ahead. Just only click that “check-out” button one day a week. You can break the habit of making impulse purchases online by placing items you would like to buy in your cart, then designating one day a week as your “buy day.” Better yet, go through your budget the day before you buy, so you can avoid spending money you don’t have or would rather use on something else.
Practice temptation bundling
Let’s say one of your guilty pleasures is ordering dessert online. But you're also trying to save more money for a down payment on a car. Temptation bundling is when you combine something that you like to do, with something that you need to do. So if you want to have that dessert delivered to your door from a meal delivery service, you also put an equal amount into your savings account for your car payment. This means your guilty pleasure now becomes a reward for your responsible behavior.
Get rid of subscriptions you don’t use
There are online subscription services for everything you can think of. It’s a good idea to go through all of your monthly subscriptions at least once a year and cancel any services that you have signed up for but don’t use or could live without. Think of it as spring cleaning for your wallet.
Don’t save credit or debit card data on online sites
In addition to helping protect you from hackers, not storing your payment info online makes it harder to make impulse purchases. If you have to get up, get your wallet and enter your payment information, you might think twice and avoid purchasing things you really don’t need.
Need a place to stick those extra savings?
Once your online spending is in check, you’ll need a place to stash all your savings. Let us help by opening a Bank of Colorado Savings Account .