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Thursday, May 13, 2010

Start Saving with a Small First Step

We've been frightened by everyone around us into thinking we must save thousands of dollars immediately. For most this is a possibility. The media does us no favors when it makes the situation sound so hopeless that we might as well give up.

For me some financial planning options seem that they are more focused on the wealthy and not the real people. The real people are the people that really need the help.

After hearing about the gloom and doom, many of us think that if we can only save, say, $10 a month, then it isn't worth it. Not true! Once you sock away that $10 and realize that you're still okay, you'll realize you can maybe put away a little more.

Maybe you increase it to only $20 a month, but that is $240 a year, plus the interest you'll receive (it may not be a lot but it all adds up).

Even if you stick with $10 a month, that's $120 a year, and if you think that isn't much money, you can probably afford to put away more.

The best part of this technique is that you get into the habit of saving. Once you do that, savings can grow and grow as your income increases, your expenditures decrease.

Here are a few tips for saving more by starting small:

Pay yourself first. You've heard it before, but that's because it works. When you pay your bills, write yourself a check. Depositing as little as $5 from each paycheck into a savings or money market account should get you to that initial goal of $10 a month. If that doesn't hurt, increase it to $10 per paycheck. If, after a couple of months, you find $10 is painless, increase it a little more. Keep doing this and you might be surprised at how much you can afford to sock away!

If your employer offers direct deposit, even better. Open a savings, CD or money market account and have at least $5 per paycheck deposited into that account. Again, keep increasing this as you get comfortable with saving the money. Our credit union offers a plan where they automatically take a set amount out of our checking account each more and put it into a separate account earning CD rate interest.

Do you spend $2 a day on coffee, soda, a bagel, or some other inexpensive treat? Do that five days a week for 50 weeks, and you've spent $500! That is your latte factor.

When you save money with good deals or coupons (like we all do with the help of Pinching Your Pennies, consider putting the difference into your savings account.

Most importantly, get yourself into the habit of saving, and don't underestimate the effect of saving just a little. All you need to do to begin is to just take that first, single step.


Karen said...

a very good reminder that small steps are okay and good and the only way most of the time to get to the bigger steps. Thanks.


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