Budgeting your paycheck is something everyone should do, but it doesn’t mean everybody does. Sometimes, the hardest thing about saving is starting. If you find yourself spending beyond your paycheck, stretching it way too thin, or not contributing to your savings account – it might be time to create a plan to begin saving.
- 30% of Americans have a financial plan that includes savings.
- 69% of Americans have less than $1,000 in a savings account.
- $3,500 is the median amount of savings for American households.
There are several things you can do to save more money from your paycheck each month. By developing a simple and realistic strategy that works for you, you’ll be closer to reaching your financial goals.
Here are some tips on how to keep more of your paycheck:
Budget Your Money
Start combing through your monthly spending so you can see where you can cut frivolous spending habits. Some helpful tools would be to use spreadsheets or track multiple savings goals on the Marygold & Co. mobile app. First, prioritize true essentials like rent, transportation, bills, food, and debt. Once you figure out how much you need for bills and other essential expenses, you will need to create a savings goal. Your second priority should be saving or investing in contribution accounts. Then if your budget allows for it, you can use the rest of the money on ‘emotional’ spending.
Budgeting will help you spend recreational money better since you’re more likely to be mindful about what you choose to spend it on. Placing this limit on yourself is a form of financial discipline and will help get you the most out of your paycheck.
According to the 50/30/20 rule, experts recommend reserving 50% of your budget for essentials such as rent and groceries, 30% for discretionary spending, and a minimum of 20% to be put into your savings. However, this system simply does not work for everyone. Your finances are personal, so you need to create a budget that works best for you.
If you have a high income, it’d be wise to spend less on discretionary items and save a larger percentage of your income. If you find yourself in the opposite situation, saving 20% of your paycheck might be stretching it too thin or currently impossible. However, don’t beat yourself up if you can’t put away 20% each month. Just remember, saving something is always better than saving nothing.
The most important question to ask yourself is, what are you saving for? Do you want to buy a house? Do you want to build an emergency fund? Are you trying to pay off debt? If you have an endpoint to look forward to, you will be encouraged and motivated to accomplish your savings goal.
Pay Yourself First Method
Pay yourself first is a budgeting technique that is as simple as the title states. Take your net monthly income total, subtract your true essentials and your savings goals and the remainder of the paycheck is what you have left for discretionary spending.
For example, say your net monthly income is $4,000. Your bills like rent, utilities, food, phone bill, medical, car insurance, car payment, student loans, and credit card bill equate to $1,800. You want to save an average of $900 a month for your vacation fund, emergency fund, debt, and a new TV. Subtract the $1,800 + $900 from your $4,000 net income. You have $1,300 left for morning coffee, happy hour, and other frivolous expenses. You can set up a direct deposit with your employer so that your wages go directly into a savings account. This ensures that money is put away every payday, first.
Start a Money Pool and Automated Savings
To ensure you are on track with your financial goals, you can set up a Money Pool, like the one we offer at Marygold & Co for each of your goals. These automated and FDIC-insured savings accounts allow you to set a specific goal amount and the frequency you want the money transferred into your savings. Customers are also able to instantly track their savings progress anytime, anywhere from their smartphones and prioritize their goals.
This saving option can be a great way to build an emergency savings fund or track progress towards a specific goal, like a new mountain bike. Separating each of your savings goals from your spending money will give you the financial discipline needed to help you save more.
Save More, Spend Less
This one is obvious. However, habits do get expensive. The daily coffee runs, $15 lunches, and after-work drinks can add up very fast. If you want to keep more of your paycheck, it’s best to find areas in your life where you can be more frugal. Here are some examples:
- Try preparing food ahead of time, reducing the amount you spend on takeout.
- Grocery shop with a list, and don’t stray from it. With a list, it’s easy to know exactly what you need instead of aimlessly wandering around the grocery store and picking up unnecessary purchases. Shopping with a list can also help you save money by helping you waste less food.
- Stop emotional and impulsive shopping, especially online. If you have your credit card data saved online, you will be more tempted to overspend. Removing this shortcut can lessen the temptation to make an impulse purchase.
- Cancel unnecessary subscriptions or services. Go through your monthly statement and see if there is anything you can remove from your monthly bill. If there is a streaming service you don’t use or an insurance service you don’t need, consider canceling it.
- Financial experts suggest using your debit card more often than a credit card. It’s wiser to spend the money you actually have if it’s really necessary. Spending with a debit card will keep you accountable for your purchases. It will also prevent you from getting a credit card bill at the end of the month that you can’t pay off – leaving you penalties and debt.
Turn Up Your Contribution Rate
An important step to reducing taxes and building your retirement fund is to contribute to a tax-advantaged retirement plan. Find out if your employer offers a 401(k) plan that you can contribute to.
First things first, you must find out what your annual limits on contributions are. If you’re not already contributing the maximum allowed, consider increasing your contribution rate. You can contribute to your 401(k) tax-deferred, which means you pay no income tax until you withdraw distributions.
Don’t wait for your next paycheck to start saving. You can’t get ahead if you don’t start now.
Simplifying your saving techniques by starting an automated Money Pool with Marygold & Co. will help you organize and create consistency with your spending and savings – while allowing you to keep track of your financial goals.
Don’t let impulsive spending and a lack of savings push your paycheck to its brink. With a proper plan and good discipline, you’ll be saving successfully in no time.