Do you feel like you could be saving more or should be saving more? Or do you fall into the category of the average American saving only 2%? If you are like most people you could and should be saving more. You need to jump start your savings today!
In order to jump start your savings, you need to do take two steps:
1. Begin an automatic savings plan to pay yourself first out of every paycheck.
2. Create your own personal (or family) savings program.
Both steps are the only two critical steps you need to act upon to jump start your savings today!
Step 2: Create a Savings Program! A savings program consists of a budget, specific savings goals, and savings strategies composed together to maximize how much you can save. Think of it as a plan. Without a plan, you may wander about, not knowing where you are going, how to get there, or where you even need to go. These are all negative hindrances impeding your progress. By creating a savings plan, you set in writing what you want, what you have now, how far you want to go, where you want to go and what methods are going to take you there. Your specifically tailored savings program is your strategy for maximizing your savings potential so you can reach success through saving.
A savings program consists of several items, or steps to create a true personal savings program. The most critical step, and the only one you need right now to jump start your savings, is to create your own personal (or family) account record book.
In order to budget, save and invest your money, you need an accurate account of how much money is coming in and how much is going out. Write down every dollar and cents you spend and earn. Include everything: your checking and savings accounts, cash, credit cards, your regular wage and any other money you may receive, such as income from side jobs. Include every dollar and every cent. Until you have mastered how to save money, every cent recorded in your account book will be significant.
An account book has many benefits. Your account book will be the basis for your budget. An account book allows you to examine how you are spending your money.It gives you an accurate picture of what you are currently spending and saving, and it divulges to you what is required to change to get the savings you desire. You will now realize where your money is going. You will be able to decide what you can eliminate, what can be reduced, and what will save you the most money.
An account book, or a record of income and expenses, will allow you to realize what your efforts have produced. If you have reached a 10%, 20%, or 30% savings, your records and a little arithmetic will give you the proof. You will be able to watch your progress grow as you save more and more and know when you can reach 50% savings and finally have reached it.
Take a few moments now to begin your own income and expense record book. Grab either a clean 3-ring notebook or an account ledger book (available at any office supply store) and begin immediately your own personal income and expense record book.
There are several different ways to set up your income and expense record book (check out Saving Your Way to Success for several illustrated examples), but the simplest would be to use the four column, running total method. This is the easiest to get started with immediately. To use this method, you only need four columns: Date, Transaction Description, Amount and Running Total. You simply start with the money you currently have in your pocket (or billfold, purse, etc.) and then with every instance of an expenditure or income coming in, you write down the current date, describe what you did with the money, and then add or subtract. It is that easy!
After you have a months worth of income and expenses, you may want to compile totals for various spending categories (the next step in creating a working budget). There are no absolute numbers (for example, if you spend more on housing, you will need to cut back on another category), but the following are guidelines for you to get started:
Charitable Gift – 10-15%
Saving (initially)- 5-10%
Housing – 25-35%
Utilities – 5-10%
Food – 5-15%
Transportation – 10-15%
Clothing – 2-7%
Medical/Health – 5-10%
Personal – 5-10%
Recreation – 5-10%
Debts – 5-10%
An account book is your personal progress report. It is your own personal positive helper. As long as you continue to grow your savings, it will show you amazing, positive results, and if at some moment you lapse in your savings, you will be able to figure out what didn’t go according to your budget plan. You will be able to watch your savings grow, grow, and GROW!
STEP 1: Pay Yourself First! When you begin a plan of systematic savings with every paycheck, you increase your savings dramatically. When you save $.50 of every $1 you earn and add the $.50 you saved with every $1 you spent, you literally multiply your savings. Save when you earn your money and when you spend your money. By implementing this strategy, you not only jump starting your savings, you are leaping forward by leaps and bounds.
Begin an automatic savings of 10% (or more) of every paycheck. By developing a plan in which you automatically save a portion every time you receive your paycheck, you take an important step forward in reaching success through saving. By reducing how much you have to spend (because you automatically save a percentage of every paycheck), you force yourself to live on less income. Once you are accustomed to spending less, you will be able to increase your savings from 10% to 15% to 20%. This is a crucial step in the creation of your savings program. You can reduce how much you spend and can begin saving immediately just by saving a portion of your paycheck.
An automatic savings of every paycheck–or, simply put, “paying yourself first out of every paycheck”–is a great method for saving money. Begin right now! Stop reading (for a moment), grab your billfold, purse, or wherever you keep your money, and begin an automatic savings plan by removing 10% of whatever is in it. Even if this amounts to only a few dollars, do it anyway. Now stick your money in an enveloped marked, “savings” and put it somewhere safe. Congratulations! You are now on your way to saving your way to success!
You have now taken two necessary steps that will help jump start your savings today!