Powerful tips for people who can’t seem to save money

A penny saved is a penny earned (Benjamin Franklin)

Saving money often feels impossible, but it doesn’t have to be. Just a quick ten minutes spent online can automate the savings process—but more importantly, do you have the discipline to make it work? Here’s how to get started.

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Put your savings in automatic mode and forget it

Set your checking account so it automatically pulls a certain amount from every paycheck and puts it in your savings. Then pretend that money is gone. You should only dip into your savings when you really need it. And no, you don’t “really need” that $200 purse.

Define “Emergency”.

Define what an “emergency” (as in “emergency savings”) really is. Medical bills and auto repairs are top candidates. Separate from your emergency savings. Living expenses should only qualify as “emergencies” when you don’t have a job.

Make Budgeting Choices.

American money ($$$)

Budgeting will help decide just how much can automatically save out of every paycheck. Keep in mind—it’s perfectly fine to get a cup of java each morning—as long as it’s budgeted for. Living without a budget is like going on a road trip with no map: It just leads to poor choices and mounting frustration. If you’re consistently going over budget at the expense of savings, figure out why and either work it into your budget, or start making tougher decisions.

Budget for Fun.

While keeping a roof over your head and food on the table is obviously important, these aren’t the only reasons we go to work every day. Try to allow some of your income for social activities like dining, movies, and special events. It will much less burdensome to stay within budget and maintain savings goals.

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