So how do you make yourself save money? It isn't easy. It takes a little practice and a lot of discipline. A good way to start is to develop a savings plan.
Just follow these steps:
Pledge to stick to your plan. One you've created it, you have to follow through.
Figure out how much money you have coming in each month. Count your income from your allowance, part-time job and any other sources.
Work out how much you want to save. Divide the money into several different categories:
- Everyday expenses
- Savings for large purchases
- Savings for the future
- Savings for investments
Put your plan in writing. Keeping a simple plan like the one below will help you track how much money you have coming in and how much you spend. This will help you figure out where you can cut back.
Set spending limits. Since you only have a limited amount of money, you have to make choices about where you can spend it.
Adjust your plan as needed. If your plan isn't working, you can always change it. But be honest with yourself about why it isn't working. Is it because
your numbers aren't realistic? Maybe you need to change your habits in order to make the numbers work. By tracking where your money goes, you'll start to understand your limits and learn how to shift money between spending and saving. In time, you'll figure out how to make the most out of both. That's called managing your money.
Your Savings Plan
A savings plan shows you where your money comes from, how much there is and where it goes. Each week, enter the following in a notebook:
- All the money you earned and where it came from
- Where and why you spent your money
Always date your entries so that you can see how often you spend. The chart below will give you an idea of some of the headings you might use.
Now take a look at where you spend your money. Do you find that you overspend in several categories? By keeping track, you'll learn about your spending habits. Then you'll start to see ways to save.
- Part-time job
- Miscellaneous jobs
- Money others owed to me
- TOTAL INCOME
- Money I owed to others
- Savings for big purchases
- Long-term savings (car, college, etc.)
- Savings for investments
- Gifts for family and friends
- Transportation (public transit, gas)
- Lunch at school
- Eating out/snacks
- School events (games, dances, etc.)
- School supplies/field trip fees
- Cell phone bill
- Books/magazines/video games
- CDs and DVDs
- Movies/concerts/sporting events
- Other expenses
- TOTAL EXPENSES
Start putting money into your savings account on a regular basis. If your employer offers direct deposit, take advantage of that convenience and deposit to your checking account for your everyday expenses. Use the debit card for purchases or to get cash from an ATM. Move some of your money to savings through automatic transfers at the Credit Union or transfer your funds online. Set up a Club Account for your special purposes and save in that. When your savings have reached at least $500, you may want to consider investing in a term certificate to increase your interest income.