Keep track of your spending. At least once a month, use credit card, checking, and other records to review what you've purchased. Then, ask yourself if it makes sense to reallocate some of this spending to an emergency savings account.
Never purchase expensive items on impulse. Think over each expensive purchase for at least 24 hours. Acting on this principle will mean you have far fewer regrets about impulse purchases, and far more money for emergency savings.
Use debit and credit cards prudently. To minimize interest charges, try to limit credit card purchases to those you can pay off in full at the end of the month. If you use a debit card, don't rely on an overdraft feature to spend money you don't have. With either approach, you'll have more money available for emergency savings.
Are you looking for an effective way to establish a budget? Beginning on the first day of a new month, get a receipt for everything you purchase. Stack and review receipts at the end of the month, and you will clearly be able to see where your money is going.
It pays to practice preventative dental care, since a good cleaning routine helps prevent fillings, root canals, and dental crowns, which are expensive and no fun.
Most people don’t track what they spend and may not realize when expenses add up to more than their budget can handle. To keep track of what you spend, put what you think you should spend for the month on transportation, food, entertainment, etc., into envelopes. This will help you avoid buying things you don’t need, and what’s left over can go into saving.
Take advantage of discounts and/or incentive programs provided through your employer. For example, if the company you work for offers discounted rates for computers, fitness center memberships, movie tickets and passes to summer festivals, take advantage! Check your corporate intranet or talk to your human resources representative. And don’t forget the best deal of all – investing in your 401(k)!
One way to establish a savings discipline is to “save” an amount equal to whatever is spent on nonessential indulgences. Put a matching amount in a cookie jar for expenditures for beer, wine, cigarettes, designer coffee, etc. If you can’t afford to save the matching amount, you can’t afford the $4 super almond low-fat latte.
Take the amount the item costs and divide it into your hourly wage. If it’s a $50 pair of shoes and you make $10 an hour, ask yourself, are those shoes really worth five long hours of work? It helps keep things in perspective.
Aim for short-term savings goals, such as setting aside $20 a week or month rather than long term savings goals, such as $200 over a year. People save more successfully when they keep the short-term goal in sight.
Save money by buying items online, in bulk. Some companies even offer free shipping on large orders. Clearance items are sometimes available, and good savings can be found on non-perishable groceries and diapers. This saves time and money!
Back to top
Substitute coffee for expensive coffee drinks. The $2 a day you could well save by buying a coffee rather than a cappuccino or latte would allow you, over the course of a year, to completely fund a $500 emergency fund.
Bring lunch to work. If buying lunch at work costs $5, but making lunch at home costs only $2.50, then in a year, you could afford to create a $500 emergency fund and still have money left over.
Eat out one fewer time each month. If it costs you $25 to eat out, but only $5 to eat in, then the $20 you save each month allows you to almost completely fund a $500 emergency savings account.
Shop for food with a list and stick to it. People who do food shopping with a list, and buy little else, spend much less money than those who decide what to buy when they get to the food market. The annual savings could