Tips to Set Aside Money Each Month
Many millennials today are struggling to make ends meet. Rising interest rates and an increased cost of living mean you may no longer be able to make your current income stretch. But if you are struggling, it’s important to remember that you are a person who is worthy of financial security.
Too often, those struggling financially are ashamed because they feel it reflects poorly on their character. However, your circumstances don’t define you, and it is possible to rise above them. There are several things you can do to set aside money to improve your situation.
Call Service Providers and Lenders
Go over all your bills and call insurance companies, service providers, and lenders to see if they will lower your payments or even defer them until you can pay them. It doesn’t cost anything but your time to call them, and you could get a good deal by doing so. It’s often best to call them instead of sending a message. It’s easier for a company to ignore a message than a phone call.
Have all the important information when you call. You can also refinance student loans after graduation if you are hoping for better rates. Getting a cosigner allows you to benefit from your cosigner’s positive credit history. When you refinance student loans with a cosigner, you can save quite a bit on your monthly expenses.
Take an Audit of Your Expenses
Block off some time to go over your expenses. This should not be a time when you are feeling down. Take the time to go over credit card and bank statements. You can also put this information into a budgeting app to make the process easier. Go over each expense to help you understand the amount you are spending on each category. The amount you feel like you spent and the amount you actually spent might differ.
You don’t have to cut out all discretionary spending because this can make you feel like you are living a joyless life. Going to this extreme would not motivate you to stick to such a budget for long. Instead, try to find a balance between reigning in spending and living a lifestyle in line with your values.
Smaller details, like streaming services, might not be necessary, but they might help you unwind after you’ve had a stressful day, so that doesn’t mean you should cancel it. On the other hand, if you discover you are spending hundreds of dollars ordering food and don’t recall getting much enjoyment out of it, you might want to cut that out.
Start Small When Saving
Saving money is an action and the important thing is to be setting money aside. Even if you only start setting aside a little each month, it is better than nothing. It might not be very motivating at first because you won’t see your savings add up that quickly. But if saving has always been hard for you, the important thing is to decide to put aside some money. This helps you make it a habit. Big things like saving for retirement are important but you need to start small to get there.
One way to make the process easier is to automate a small amount from each paycheck. Set up a separate account that you won’t touch except in emergencies. If you have direct deposit, you can then set things up so a small amount from each paycheck goes to this emergency account. You may want to set up this account at a different bank than the one you have your main checking account at. This removes the temptation to spend that emergency fund on something else.
Think of funding this account as another monthly bill. Another $20 or $30 a month isn’t that much to start. When the money goes right to the account instead of your main one, you are less likely to miss the money since you never had it in your account.
It’s not always easy to save money if you feel like you don’t have enough. Keeping yourself motivated can be challenging, so try keeping in mind that you are not punishing yourself by living frugally. Instead, you are thinking about the future, creating a more stable financial future for yourself. Think of it as taking care of your future self.