How to Start Saving in 2011

ceramic piggy bank

Darcy Johansan writes for No Credit Check where you can find anything from a prepaid satellite TV to a car rental no credit check.

It’s time once again to start making your list of New Year’s resolutions.  And while “get in shape” is at the top of most people’s lists, you have likely also included “save money” (in one form or another) as a very close second.  In fact, you’re not very liable to follow through with any of your resolutions, despite your good intentions (as you may recall from years past) unless you make some sort of change in your methodology.  So if you’re looking to actually bulk up your savings this year and make a little nest egg for that trip to Paris, a new car, or simply for a rainy day, here are a few tips to get you on the right path and ensure that the money doesn’t go down the drain.

The first thing you need to do is write out a plan.

By writing things down, you are much more likely to follow through with your intentions.  Then post it somewhere that you’ll see it all the time so you are constantly reminded.  It may help to add what you plan to do with the money as a form of motivation.  Now, you’re probably wondering just what is going to be included in this plan for starting a savings, and there are actually just a few steps.

Start by going over your finances and making out a list of income and expenses.

If you’re like a lot of people, you may actually be spending more money than you make.  This is one of the many reasons you have been unable to save in the past.  Even if it seems like you should come out at the end of the month with some extra cash, you’re probably spending it on things you don’t really need (like eating out and entertainment).  Unfortunately, if you want to save money, this is the first area you’re going to have to cut back.

And so we arrive at the budget.

Once you have a good idea where your finances are coming and going, you need to write out a monthly budget that allows for a savings.  Simply allocate appropriate funds for your bills (don’t forget to break down the ones that you pay yearly or biannually, like insurance and car registration) and see what’s left.  From that you will draw your spending cash as well as your savings.  The trick is to be honest about what you can reasonably save so as to ensure that you stick to your budget.  If you feel deprived in some way, you’re going to dip into your savings again and again, making the whole exercise a moot point.  So even if you only save $20 a week or $100 a month, make it a number you can live with.

Saving money is not easy for most of us, considering that our society thrives on consumerism and judges based on ownership of material goods.  But if you want to be smart about how you handle your money and have a little something on hand should you need to fix the car, plug a leak in the roof, or take a whirlwind jaunt to Rio for Carnival, you’re best option is to set your goal in writing, create a workable budget, and be honest about what you can really put into savings.  This will guarantee that the resolution you make in January comes to fruition by the time December rolls around.

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