You’ve probably heard that you need at least a million dollars to retire. But, how do you actually save a million dollars? And is that really enough money to retire comfortably? The answer to the first question is easier to answer than the second.
While these finance tips might not make you a millionaire, they can go a long way in helping you save money and improve your financial situation, starting today.
1. Create a Budget
One of the first things you need to do in order to save money is to create a budget. You should know how much money is coming in and how much you are spending. Take your most recent bank statement and go through it with a fine-tooth comb.
Identify your recurring bills, such as your rent or mortgage, car payment, utilities, cell phones, etc. as well as any revolving debts, such as credit cards. Once you have an idea of your spending habits, see where you can cut your budget or where you need to tighten up.
You can do this the old fashioned way with pen and paper, an Excel spreadsheet, or download one of the countless apps available to manage your money from your smartphone.
2. Automate Your Savings
Paying yourself first means you have money transferred from your checking account each time you get paid (or at set times during the month). Set an automatic transfer so that money hits your savings account before you even notice it’s gone.
3. Open a High-Yield Savings Account
Instead of parking your money in a normal savings account, which has extremely low interest rates, consider a high-yield savings account. While you aren’t going to be making the big bucks with these, the higher interest rate will benefit you over time. Many online high-yield savings accounts can offer higher interest rates because they don’t have a brick-and-mortar location, reducing their overhead costs.
4. Build an Emergency Fund
Having an emergency fund is important to keep yourself from going into debt if an unexpected expense arises. Costly car or home repairs, an appliance that stops working, job loss, or medical expenses can come out of the blue. If you have an emergency fund for these situations, you won’t have to rely on your credit cards.
You’ll find varying opinions on how much you should have in your emergency fund, but a good rule of thumb is at least 3-6 months’ worth of your expenses.
5. Use Credit Responsibly
Use your credit cards responsibly. Pay off the balance at the end of each month and monitor your credit score and your credit reports regularly. Having good credit will benefit you for things like loan interest rates, loan approvals, and even insurance premiums.
If you’ve gotten yourself into trouble with credit cards and need help with your finances, paying them off with a personal loan may be a good idea to get your credit back on track. Find out where to find a loan with a cosigner to learn more.
Put These Finance Tips in Motion Today
The good news is that you don’t need to wait to put these finance tips into motion. Grab last month’s bank statement and your bills and start making that budget. Once you do that, start working on your emergency and savings accounts so you can improve your financial situation one day at a time.
Did you find these personal finance tips useful? If so, be sure to check out some of our other articles before you go.