With the economy in the doldrums, many people are being forced to cut back on spending in nearly every area of their lives. It’s not just extra expenses like entertainment or clothing that folks are worried about; the budgetary restrictions extend to groceries, gasoline, and utilities as well. So now it’s more important than ever to learn how to save money and build up an emergency fund that can tide you over should you run into a financial catastrophe.

You’re probably wondering if it’s even possible to build up your savings account when you’re already barely scraping by as it is. Well, the answer is yes — but you will definitely have to make sacrifices along the way. In the long run, however, these lifestyle changes will be worth it, as you discover the peace of mind that comes with having cash in the bank.

Before you can learn how to save money, the first thing you have to do is find out exactly where you’re spending it. Keep meticulous records that show every penny you earn and spend for at least a month, and then put your findings into a spreadsheet. From there, you can figure out which expenses are fixed (like your mortgage or car loan) and which are variable (like food, cable, or your cell phone plan). Once you’ve identified the variable expenses, try to cut them down by at least 10 percent, either by buying fewer potato chips and soda or by going with basic cable instead of premium. Sacrifices, remember? Then, go out and deposit that savings into your bank account.

Another basic tip for those learning how to save money is to take something out of every paycheck. Most experts recommend that you immediately put 10 percent of your check into the bank without touching it, but that might not be possible for some people. If you’re having trouble making ends meet or if you have a mountain of high-interest credit card debt, then obviously you’ll have to adjust these numbers accordingly. Most books that talk about how to save money make it sound like this “pay yourself first” rule is the cornerstone of budgeting, but it rarely works that way in the real world. Just put away as much as you can from each paycheck, even if it’s as little as $25. That sum could still come in handy at some point.

Those who have mastered the art of how to save money will tell you that setting specific goals and limits is the key to success. Don’t just say that you’re not going to go out to eat “as much”. Instead, say that you will only go out once a month. Don’t say that you’ll “spend less” on clothes. Instead, give yourself an exact limit, such as $50 per month. Knowing precisely what your goals are will give you less wiggle room to fudge the numbers or make excuses when the going gets tough.

Now that you’ve got some ideas for how to save money, the next thing to do is get started. Don’t keep putting it off, because financial security is worth a lot more than that leather jacket or hot pair of pumps! Read More Money Saving Ideas

Be Sociable, Share!