As you’re building your retirement savings, one of the challenges you may face is the feeling of not having enough money to save. It’s true that the rising costs of food, college tuition for kids, and transportation have cut into all of our budgets. But a few small changes can add up to extra room in your budget, and that can translate into a much healthier retirement savings account.
Stick to a budget. This is ages-old financial advice, but you’d be surprised how many people still don’t follow a budget whatsoever. Take some time to outline your priorities and spending limits, and stick to them.
Don’t deprive yourself. Decide upon a few things you won’t really miss, and cut those from your budget. Or, look for ways to replace larger optional expenses with smaller ones that you still find satisfying, so that you don’t feel deprived of everything you love.
Get out of debt. Call your credit card companies and negotiate lower interest rates, or transfer your balances to cards with better rates. Then make more than the minimum payments and get out of debt. Once you’re free from credit card payments, you can then divert that money to your retirement savings each month. Change your old spending habits so that you never get into deep debt again.
Periodically clean out your garage. Sell things you aren’t using in a garage sale or on ebay, and deposit the proceeds into your retirement savings account immediately.
Learn to cook your favorite foods. We tend to eat out because we’re craving something that we can’t make at home. Learn to cook your favorite foods, and try new recipes at home. You’ll save big bucks on dining out.
Adjust your payroll tax withholding. If you usually get a big tax refund in the spring, adjust your payroll withholding now. Then, increase your deposits to your retirement savings account, so that that money is automatically diverted to your future goals.