First, you have to realize that you are broke for a reason and it has nothing to do with your level of income. It has everything to do with how you manage your money. So all that you need to do in order to start saving is to learn to manage your money. Here are some things you should do to find the money that you need.
Find Where Your Money Is Going
People who do not save generally have one thing in common. They have no idea where their money is going. This is a problem that needs fixing right away before you can begin to save.
Take a full week or even a full month and track where every dollar you spend is going. Keep a journal or text file on your phone and make an entry every time you spend money. At the end of the week or month, tally up your spending and divide it into categories such as food, entertainment, etc. What you will likely find is that you are wasting a lot of money on things that you do not need. Those seemingly insignificant amounts can add up in a big way in the long run.
Make A Budget
With the data from your spending log in hand, you can now make a budget that allows you to devote a portion of your money to savings.
Begin by allotting an amount for savings, 10 percent of your take home pay is a good place to start. That might seem like a lot, but this is really the minimum you should be saving. With savings in place, use your data to enter the rest of your expenses. Now, balance the budget by making cuts where possible without touching your savings amount. Don’t think you have room to make cuts? You do, because if you are not saving, you are living outside your means. Fix that.
Automate Your Savings
There is no reason that you should be manually depositing money into your savings account. Doing so only opens you up to temptation, so you need to automate things.
Assuming you get paid via direct deposit, set up a savings transfer on the morning of the day you get paid. Get the money out of sight before you have time to see it. You can not miss what you never saw and soon enough, you will forget about that money, until you notice your huge savings account that is.
The account that you automatically transfer to is important as well. Make it an online savings account that is separate from your regular bank. This keeps it out of sight and has the benefit of making your money a bit harder to get to. You can still reach it in an emergency, but the lack of instant transfer availability can protect you from impulse buys.
Stash Your Windfalls
A windfall is any large amount of money that you were not expecting. When you come into this money, your instinct is to probably treat yourself, but you need to be smarter. Since you were not expecting or counting on the money, the better decision is to deposit it straight to savings.
The great thing about saving windfalls is that you get a jump start on savings. It is tough to save money in the beginning but when you start seeing results, you get motivated. That windfall can give you fast results and thus motivate you to save more.
Increase Your Income
Everyone wants to make more money, in theory, but taking action is a different matter. Take action and increase your level of income. Then, instead of boosting your lifestyle, boost your level of savings. Here are some ways to get a bump to your paycheck.
You might be comfortable with your current position, but maybe you are too comfortable. That 3 percent cost of living raise you get every year is not doing you any favors. Gone are the days where employers will reward you for your hard work. Now, they save the big money to attract new hires. Be one of those new hires and boost your pay 10 percent or more.
Get A Side Gig
If you work a standard 40 hour job and have time to kill, think about putting it to use with a side gig. Employers are hurting for hourly employees and picking up just one par time shift a week could allow you to add 500 dollars or more to your bottom line each month.
Improve Your Value
You might be surprised at how improving your value to your employer could benefit you financially. Learn a new language, get an advanced degree or simply earn a certificate and you could earn yourself a promotion or at least a pay raise. If nothing else, you make yourself more hire-able to outside companies and that could mean a significant pay bump.