How to Start Saving Even When You Feel Like You Need to Spend Every Dime

couple on floor with piggybankHere's an eye-opening fact: Nearly half of Americans have NO money in their savings accounts. If they even have a savings account at all! A recent survey conducted by GoBankingRates found that 28 percent of Americans have nothing in a savings account, and 21 percent don't even HAVE a savings account.

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Yikes! Clearly, this is not a good strategy if you have a family, a mortgage, a car ... you get the hint. It's also not wise in the event that you ever lose your job or find yourself in a dire emergency.

We all know that having extra cash at hand is imperative. But we get it -- it's hard to save when your expenses equal exactly every last dime from every last paycheck. But you don't have to stash away hundreds or even thousands at a time to make an impact.

Here, four tips that you can implement even when your bank account is at its lowest balance.


1. Pay yourself first. "Many of us hear this saying but don't really know what it means," explains Christopher Dukes, president and CEO of Dukes Wealth Management, Inc. "It's pretty simple. Each month, when your paychecks come in, take the first $100 (or less if you need) that you make per month, and put it into a savings account, retirement plan, or something else that is an ASSET for you instead of a bill."

This way, your first bit of money each month adds to your estate instead of someone else's, says Dukes. "You need to save for retirement," he emphasizes. "Your parents' generation had pensions, guaranteed annuities, and all sorts of other options that made retiring a bit easier. Those days are gone. Whether it's a 401(k) or an IRA, you put money away, theoretically, for 40 years (age 25-65) and then retire. Make that the plan!"

2. Set #moneygoals. "Every year, you need to write down your financial goals for the next 12 months," explains Dukes. "When you write things down and then review it frequently, you're more likely to meet or exceed that goal!"

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3. Curb your enthusiasm ... or disappointment. Even though money can trigger a bevy of emotions, you'll do well not to let them get in the way. The key: "When you have lots of money, you're happy," says Dukes. "When you have no money, you're sad. Pretty straightforward. The trick in life is to not let the emotions that we experience week in and out affect our financial goals. Whether it's buying that new car because you think you can afford the payments, or eating at the newest five-star restaurant to keep up with your friends. Listen, if you can do it, do it ... live life. Just be sure you have money to retire on, so you can drive that new car for years to come!"

4. Keep track. "People are so stressed and overwhelmed that they think they have nothing to save," says Debbi King, personal finance and life coach. "However, if you wrote down your spending -- every item -- for, say, two months, it would be easy to see where there is money to save. For example, that coffee from Starbucks, eating out, items not on our grocery list (or not even having a shopping list at all), etc. We overspend $1 at a time, and it adds up quickly. That dollar could be easily applied to your savings."

 

Image via iStock.com/wavebreakmedia; Flickr/Pictures of Money

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