Saving for your future while juggling multiple financial responsibilities
If you’re a full-time American employee who feels the burden of financial stress or lives paycheck to paycheck, you’re not alone. According to CareerBuilder, 78 percent of full-time American workers say they live paycheck to paycheck, and that number has only gone up in recent years . Worrying you won’t have enough money to pay for unexpected expenses is stressful enough as it is, but how do you manage to save money for retirement while still providing for yourself in the now?
There are many ways you can save for your future while juggling all of the financial responsibilities you already have. Take a look at these five easy tricks that could help you save some money long-term!
How to save money while under financial stress
· Cut back on unnecessary spending
Are you buying coffee multiple times a week from your favorite chain coffeehouse? What about going out for lunch with coworkers when you could easily pack a lunch instead? If so, it may not be a bad idea to cut back on that “Treat Yourself” mentality. These expenses may seem small upfront, but they can add up in a big way.
Let’s break it down. Say you’re a regular coffee drinker who stops for a latte three days every week. If each latte costs five dollars, you’d be spending about $780 on coffee alone in one year. Now let’s say you cut back to two lattes a week. You’re still getting your early-morning fix, but the small change of buying one less latte each week alone would save you roughly $260 throughout the course of one year.
Looking for other expenses you can cut out? Eliminating or cutting back on habits like eating out, smoking cigarettes, buying name-brand items, and gambling are easy ways to keep more of that hard-earned cash in your wallet. Additionally, thanks to streaming services like Netflix and Hulu, more and more Americans are ditching cable and the monthly bill that comes with it.
· Utilize cash back programs
You obviously can’t avoid spending money entirely, but that doesn’t mean you can’t save money on the things you are buying already. Apps like Ibotta allow users to earn cash back rewards for shopping at Walmart, Groupon, Walgreens, CVS, and over 275 more stores and apps. The app utilizes e-coupons to earn cash back rewards for users, which can be transferred as cash into PayPal or Venmo, or can be converted into a gift card of your choice.
Additionally, credit cards often offer appealing cash back rewards just for purchasing everyday items like gas and groceries. Just be careful to pay the card off in a timely manner to avoid piling sums of interest.
· Find a side gig
According to a recent report by Bankrate.com, more than 44 million Americans bring in money outside of their regular job . Finding a second job or side gig may seem unrealistic if you have lots of responsibilities outside the office, but that doesn’t need to be the case. There are plenty of ways to get your side hustle on while maintaining a manageable work-life balance.
If you have an artistic eye or are particularly crafty, joining a community like Etsy may not be a bad idea. You can work on your own time and use your talents to sell products for a profit. Maybe instead you have a big, empty room in your house that seemingly has no purpose. Sounds like the perfect opportunity to turn it into a weekend room rental on Airbnb, right?
· Pay off debt
The importance of paying off debt in a timely manner is twofold when it comes to saving for your future. Paying off credit card or student loan debt quickly helps keep interest rates more manageable, and who wants to pay hundreds or even thousands of dollars in interest fees? Additionally, paying off any debt you owe will free up income and portions of your budget that were previously going towards paying those bills.
For example, let’s say you weren’t particularly wise with the first credit card you got in college, and you racked up some serious debt. You’re committed to paying off the card, so you allocate a certain amount of your budget towards the bill each month. When the debt is finally paid off, you can take that allocated money and use it to fund your retirement savings account. After all, it’s hard to miss something you aren’t used to having. Plus, you’re still saving for your future.
· Increase retirement contributions when a raise is given
This is another simple case of “You can’t miss what you don’t have.” If you’ve worked hard all year, you may earn a well-deserved raise of, let’s say, three percent. That’s great, right? How great would it be if you could invest part of that money into a pre-tax retirement plan while still upping your take home pay? Well, it’s possible.
If you earn a raise, investing a portion of it into a pre-tax savings plan, like an employer-sponsored 401(k), will go a long way in helping ease anxiety about your financial future. Let’s say you were already putting six percent of your yearly salary into a 401(k) plan when you earned that three percent raise. If you increase your 401(k) contributions to seven or eight percent, you’ll add extra funds to your retirement plan while still using a portion of your raise to increase take home pay. Sounds like a win-win, doesn’t it?
Although there’s no “one size fits all” formula for successfully preparing for your future, utilizing these five tricks may help you prepare for and own your retirement readiness.
Ryne Lambert, MBA - Financial Services Representative Team Lead - firstname.lastname@example.org - 800.236.7400 Ext. 3491
Ryne is a subject matter expert on 401(k), retirement savings, investments, participant advice, personal finance education and behavioral finance.