I want to support rebuilding the nation's economy. Therefore, I am lowering my bookkeeping hourly rates from $50/hour to $40/hour, until further notice. - Manuel
I want to support rebuilding the nation's economy. Therefore, I am lowering my bookkeeping hourly rates from $50/hour to $40/hour, until further notice. - Manuel
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Let's Talk Savings 101

cash rolled into ball inside hands

Anticipation is one of the things that makes life exciting and enjoyable, whether it be for the weekend, a vacation, a new car, or even a house to call your own. Unfortunately, most things worth waiting for involve money, usually in large quantities. Saving up enough money for the down payment on a house, a deposit on an apartment, or a car can seem daunting, but with small, simple steps, it can quickly be done.

Set goals along the way

Setting one large, overarching financial goal is very inspiring, but it can also seem unattainable when you're in the process of saving for it. Combat the saving doldrums by setting smaller goals for yourself along the way. If you're trying to save $10,000 for a new car, try setting smaller, periodic goals of $1,000. Once you've hit your mini-goal, make sure to celebrate in some way, whether it's by going out for ice cream or having a movie night. Whatever it is, make sure that it's something that will sufficiently motivate you to hit the next goal as well.

Evaluate your budget

Is there any part of your budget that can be pared down a little? For example: subscription services that you're not using, frequent trips to restaurants, etc. Identify any part of your budget that could be cut down a bit, and rework your budget so that the money can be redirected into saving for your goal. Even if it's just a few dollars a month, every drop in the bucket will help. 

Cut down on expenses wherever you can

This one goes hand-in-hand with the previous tip. Once you've determined what parts of your budget you can redirect money from, put a plan in motion to accomplish it. If you tend to eat out a lot for lunch, try packing your own. If you're worried about running out of time in the morning, designate a specific day, such as Saturday or Sunday, as a meal prep day. Cook enough food that will last well for the rest of the week to take in lunches or eat for supper after work. The same principle applies to coffee--instead of stopping at the coffee shop several times a week, get yourself a travel mug and bring it from home. If you're paying for a dog-walking service and a gym membership to hop on a treadmill a few times a week, kill two metaphorical birds with one stone and take your dog(s) running in a local park.

Keep track of your savings

Once you start saving money, keep track of it. Know exactly how much money is in your savings, exactly how much is coming in, and where it's coming from. If your bank offers a mobile banking app with an analysis of your accounts, use it. If you prefer using a pen and paper, use that. Whatever method works for you, as long as it's reliable and you can understand it, use it and stick with it. This tactic will not only help you keep your paperwork in check, but will also help you track exactly where you are in the process.

Don't get discouraged

Saving money can be hard, and it can get discouraging, too. Try not to get discouraged or sidetracked; remember what you're aiming to achieve, and keep that end goal in sight at all times. If you're saving for a vacation, keep a picture or travel brochures on your refrigerator door. If you're saving for a house or a car, do research on what you're looking for. Doing so will help keep you excited for what you're saving for, and it will help you keep going when it seems like the amount in your savings isn't increasing.

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