Do you want to make a big purchase this year? Maybe a new car, a down payment on a house, or an investment in your education? Or are you motivated by financial security?
Perhaps you’d rest easier knowing you can handle anything that comes your way.
According to a recent study by the Federal Reserve, 47 percent of Americans wouldn’t be able to pay $400 or more in an emergency.
Rather than letting a couple hundred dollars take down your financial status, avoid the stress by saving now. Use these three tips below to start building your savings for the future:
No.1: Take advantage of student and/or employee discounts
If you’re a student, an employee, or both, there’s a good chance you can get monthly discounts on some of your largest bills. Cell phone companies, gyms, AAA, restaurants, tech companies, and more have all been known to partner with organizations or institutions to extend discounts to employees and students.
Talk to human resources if you’re not familiar with any employee discounts. If there aren’t any available, suggest they reach out to similarly-focused brands who may want to partner to offer reciprocal deals, or automatic discounts, for employees.
Most universities have already worked with businesses to offer student discounts on the things they need most. Colorado State University-Global Campus, a 100% online state university, offers students and alumni discounts at companies like Apple, Adobe, Dell, Norton, and more.
In some cases a student identification card or .edu email address can get you a variety of discounts, be sure to ask next time you’re taking out your wallet. Not only does the business win by gaining a customer, but you will by saving money on the things you use most.
No. 2: Limit eating (and drinking) out
For the first time in history, sales at U.S. eating and drinking establishments have overrun sales at grocery stores. Are you spending more on eating out than you do on eating in?
If so, you’ve got a big opportunity to save. A Visa survey concluded that the average American spends about $53 a week, or $2,746 a year, on lunch alone.
Of course preparing your own lunch costs money too, but it’s about a $6 difference per day between eating out and bringing a brown bag, so it’s still best to eat in. Here are some tips to make it easy:
? Cook an extra serving at dinner and you’ve got for lunch for tomorrow.
? Create a weekly meal plan that outlines each meal throughout the week.
? Prepare meals and prep food on Sunday to use through the week.
? Drink water, it’s free.
? Pack a cooler of food when you’re on-the-go.
Eating in doesn’t mean you miss the social aspect of dining out. Eat before you join the group and focus on the company you’re enjoying, not the food you’re missing.
Like most things, it will get easier to eat in the more you do it. Find a routine that fits your lifestyle, schedule, and environment and you could save almost $3k a year, or more.
No. 3 Treat your savings as an ‘untouchable’
As you saw above, many American’s don’t have enough money to pay unforeseen emergencies. That’s pretty scary when you consider the cost of car repairs, a new cell phone or a trip to the emergency room.
It’s tempting to use your hard earned savings for a fun trip, a shopping spree or a ticket to the big game, but that’s not what it’s for. Of course you can, and should, save up for this type of fun, but what you really need to be prepared for is the things you can’t plan.
Talk to your bank about clever ways to contribute to your savings regularly without actually seeing the pot grow. Automatic deposits into your savings account can be scheduled so you don’t need to do anything manually. You may also be able to hide your savings account from your online banking dashboard so you’re not tempted to borrow.
If you do find yourself in an emergency situation you’ll be glad you have the money to support you, or at least lessen the blow. If you never need it, you’ll still be glad you have it for more fun things, future investments, big purchases and retirement.
Regardless of how you save money, it’s important that you do. Take these three tips and make them work for you. Don’t worry about saving a lot of money each month, just do what you can, even if it’s only a couple of bucks.
Your savings will grow and you’ll be in a better position to handle those emergency situations.