Anyone bringing home a steady, reasonably sufficient paycheck can save. Not only that, but saving is one of the simplest acts of money management that you can engage in, and there are a lot of ways to make it happen.
To help you get started, try some — or all! — of the 10 of the most low-effort strategies for stocking your rainy-day fund.
1. Cook Meals at Home
Restaurant meals are notoriously more expensive than cooking at home, which is understandable since you’re paying for the food along with the kitchen labor and the service. But if you make it a point to eat more meals at home, you’ll often save half or more of what you would spend in a restaurant. When you do, make a note of the money you saved (whatever the amount) and transfer that to your savings account.
2. Spend a Night In
Sitting on the couch and watching TV isn’t often thought of as a money-saving activity. But if your habit is to go out for dinner and drinks on a Friday night, stay in and save the expense of food, alcohol, and the fuel you’d spend getting to those things. The amount you’ll save varies, but $50 for a night out isn’t unusual.
3. Set a Short-Term Savings Goal
If motivation to save money is a problem for you, set small, attainable goals that can be met in a short period of time. Just telling yourself that you’re going to save money isn’t enough. Far-reaching goals are hard to keep on track, but smaller, achievable triumphs help pave the way little by little. Meeting those goals will encourage you to continue being intentional about putting money away.
4. Contribute a Little More to Your 401(k)
Most employers will match your contribution up to a certain percentage. If you want an easy way to save for retirement without having to think about it, up the amount that gets taken out of your paycheck for your 401(k) so it’s safely put away and invested before you even see it.
5. Drink More Water
Water is by far the cheapest and most readily available drink that we have (so long as you’re not committing the ultimate money wasting crime of buying bottled water, of course), and also the healthiest. An easy way to save money is to opt for water at home and when you’re going out to eat as opposed to the far more expensive soft drinks, juices, coffee, and alcoholic beverages. I drink water all day long, and compared to my husband who buys several drinks a day while he’s working, I’d venture to guess I’m saving about $35 per week by avoiding anything but good ol’ H2O.
If you’re patient and methodical about saving money, the best ways to do so are often incredibly simple and low-stress. So don’t over-complicate the process. Start with the easier methods and work your way up as you get into the habit of budgeting and putting money aside. You’ll feel better about your finances knowing that it’s easy to meet your savings goals, set up an emergency fund and increase cash flow.
This article was written by Mikey Rox and originally posted at wisebread.com on August 20, 2014. Read the article in its entirety by clicking here.