Saving money can seem like a really difficult thing to do- you only have a limited amount of money and endless things you could do with it.
One of the first things you can do to get on the track to saving is make a budget, this will help you to figure out your ‘surplus income’ which basically means, how much money you have left over after you pay for everything you need.
Writing it down on paper is one thing, but learning how to save (or being good at it!) is something else all together.
It’s easy to say that you have $30 left over each week so you will try to save that, but you have to make sure you are honest with yourself.
Do you think you will still buy a new pair of shoes, or go out for lunch even when you were meant to be saving your money? That’s ok; it just means you have to consider these habits in your savings plan.
If you know you can’t resist a good bargain, or a night out with friends, don’t worry about it just plan to save only a part of your surplus each week. You’ll be better off in the long run if you can regularly save a smaller amount of money, say $10 a week, then if you only manage to put aside $30 each month.
If you feel like you might need to cut down on your shopping, check out this Youth Central’s guide to managing money for some great tips.
It’s hard to save when you are just trying to save because it’s ‘the right thing to do’. It’s much easier if you think of something specific to work towards.You can start off with smaller things like saving for a new bike or computer and once you have practice doing that, you’ll be able to save for bigger things.
Spending leaks are little things you buy that might only cost you a few dollars, but you buy them pretty regularly. When you made your budget you might have forgotten that you grab a coffee with friends most afternoons, or you buy a muffin on the way to school every day.
It might seem like nothing, but if you are doing it every day, or even every week it all adds up. If you buy 3 bottles of coke a week at $3.50, that’s $10.50 a week, that’s over $500 a year!
You have to decide which is more important, the coffee or working towards your savings goal? If you decide the coffee is important, try setting yourself a limit each week. If you are someone who NEEDS your chocolate, buy a bulk bag of chocolate bars from the supermarket and pack yourself one each day rather than paying double at a vending machine. For more help on tracking your spending check out these Money Smart tips.