When you’ve learned to save money consistently, you’ve reached a certain level of adulthood. Saving is a tricky beast. Your income and expenses can vary, and life has a way of throwing challenges in front of us.
With so many variables, it’s important to have some savings strategies you know you can execute well in your pocket. You want to be able to save for a rainy day as well as start building real wealth for yourself. Most financial experts say that you should have 3-6 months of living expenses saved in an emergency fund.
If you don’t have that yet, or it’ll take a while to reach, a great goal is to save $2000. Whether it’s your emergency fund or split between a few accounts, having $2000 is a very nice buffer between you and debt. It’s enough to cover most smaller emergencies and it will give you peace of mind.
How can you save $2000? By starting today, you could have $2000 in eight months if you follow our savings strategies below.
A great jumpstart to saving is to automate savings. Setting up automatic savings means that you never even see the money in your checking account, forcing you to live off less and save more.
Using just this savings tactic, you could save $2000 in eight months by automating $250 a month to your savings account. Overall, not a super huge amount of money to automate away, but enough to build a savings account fairly quickly.
Reduce Big Expenses
The three biggest expenses for most people are housing, food, and transportation. So it follows that cutting back in these areas can yield some of the highest saving opportunities.
By cutting back across all three areas you can probably save $2000 in eight months fairly quickly. Here are some great ways to save in each area.
Downsize your home. Move someplace cheaper if you can.
Get a roommate or rent out a spare room.
Negotiate rent with your landlord. Exchange services for lower rent if possible.
Skip packaged food in favor of fresh food. Fresh is almost always cheaper.
Empty your pantry completely before buying new. Get inventive with foods that have sat on your shelves for months.
Shop in season foods.
Carpool to work twice a week.
Buy a bus pass and forego using your car.
Move closer to work if you can, or bike to work.
Negotiation is often only associated with getting a raise at work. And actually, that’s a great way to save money! If you start earning more but continue spending at your current rate, you can bank the difference and save big.
However, you can use negotiation to save in other places. To save $2000 in eight months, look at all your recurring costs. Things like car insurance, bus passes, rent, internet costs, cable costs, or any subscription service are all things you can negotiate.
Make a list of all your monthly costs and contact each service provider. Ask if you’re eligible for discounts, if they’re running a promotion, or if they can meet a competitor’s lower cost.
This will take some time but can yield huge savings. You’ve seen the Geico ads ’15 minutes can save you 15% or more?’ Imagine saving 15% on five different fixed costs in your life. You could save so much money by simply asking for better rates!
Saving money is about so much more than simply giving up things in your life. It’s about customizing your savings to your life, and finding ways to do it that fit your life. If you’re trying to build an emergency fund for yourself, or just want a little buffer in your checking account, try one (or all!) of these methods.
What are some of your favorite ways to save?
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Kara Perez is the original founder of From Frugal To Free. She is a money expert, speaker and founder of Bravely Go, a feminist financial education company. Her work has been featured on NPR, Business Insider, Forbes, and Elite Daily.