There are many reasons someone may want to start saving, and there are just as many reasons people struggle to save. Starting to save money or improve your financial situation can seem very intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be. Today I’m sharing small and simple steps to take to start saving money.
I haven’t always been financially confident. I spent a considerable amount of time (read: all of my twenties) living below the poverty level. I could not get a financial footing, or figure out a way to get my head above water. It was overwhelming and depressing and debilitating. While that time was so hard, it was also so rewarding, and I learned so many lessons.
Previously, I shared this list of ways to save money when there’s no money to save, but today I’m sharing even more ways to save money when there isn’t money to save or ways to start saving when you’ve never saved before.
1. Pay with Cash, Save the Change
Sometimes saving money requires a habit change. If you find yourself always swiping a debit or credit card for all your purchases, then wondering where all your money goes, then switching to cash might be for you. Or if you just need a change of pace, and let the plastic cards rest for a minute, cash might be for you as well.
Whenever I’ve needed a financial reset with my overspending, I will make sure all my automatic bills are paid (rent, utilities, insurances, etc.), I will remove my credit and debit card from my wallet, and just use cash to make purchases. Once the cash is gone, it’s gone.
Another thing I do when I’m spending with cash is I refuse to spend my change. Every time I check out and I’m given change, I throw it in my purse, then drop it in my change jar at the end of the day.
These two small steps--switching to cash and saving the change might take a little time, but with consistency can help you to save when there’s no money to save.
2. Create Savings Account Separate from Other Bank Accounts
This step actually helped me save the most when I started saving. Instead of opening a savings account at the same bank that housed my other accounts, I opened an account at a different banking institution.
Opening a separate bank account kept from easily transferring money from my savings to checking. I can still transfer between accounts if I want to, but the transfer takes longer—sometimes up to a week so it prevents me from making a transfer for an impulse purchase.
I chose a bank account from Aspiration Bank--a bank that chooses to not lend their assets to companies that fund oil companies, politicians or companies whose practices negatively impact our environmental climate. Each month, I choose what amount my monthly fees are, and I have the ability to earn up to one percent APY on my savings.
If this sounds like a bank you’d like to bank with, you can click here to begin. If you use this link, I will receive $50 in my account, and you will receive $50 as well. It’s a win-win. I have both a savings and checking account with Aspiration so that if I need to use the money for an emergency, I can use the debit card attached to the checking account. I choose to keep the debit card at home, but have used in a pinch!
3. Start Saving Small Amounts Automatically
Sometimes when it comes to saving, getting started is the hardest part. Another way I started save when there wasn’t any money to save was to start very small. I felt I did not have very much to set aside, so I empowered myself by starting with just $5 a paycheck. I found a way each pay period to stick $5 away so I could build the habit of setting something aside.
In order to save without thinking about it, a set up an automatic monthly withdrawal. I coincided my withdrawal with my pay day since I was paid on the first and 15th of each month. This insured I had money in my account that hadn't gone to expenses or other things that I didn't need. It also insured I paid myself first.
Gradually, I increased my contribution from $5 to $100 per pay period. We all have to start somewhere when it comes to saving. We all have a financial past or story, and while we may not be proud of that past or that story, we don’t have to continue down that same path. Saving small allowed me to change my financial direction and make positive changes for my future self and my financial security.
If you’ve never saved before, or you’re desperate to start saving, sometimes it can feel overwhelming. I hope these small steps help you feel empowered and confident in your financial security journey.
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