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4 Easy Tricks to Become Better at Saving Money

  1. Create a consistent savings plan
  2. Do your saving on pay day
  3. Set up automatic transfers
  4. Take full advantage of salary increases

By Stephen Sellner | Citizens Bank Staff

Are you ready to become a better saver?

Here’s some good news: It’s easier than you might think! A few minor changes in habit can make saving money part of your routine instead of an afterthought. That way you’re putting more money away for all the exciting financial milestones you’re working toward.

Here are four ways to take an active approach to saving money:

1. Create a consistent savings plan

This might seem daunting at first, but allow us to explain!

Right now, you might be saving random amounts from each paycheck. Maybe $50 one pay period, $122 the next. Want to make things a bit more official? Come up with a savings target that you try to hit every month.

How do you do this?

  • Start by calculating your monthly income — after taxes and any pre-tax contributions — to know how much you have each month for bills, saving, and spending.
  • Next, take that amount and subtract all of your monthly bill payments, such as rent/mortgage, student loan payment(s), car payment, car insurance, gym membership, and so on.
  • Then, figure out how much you spend each month on recurring expenses — groceries, gas, entertainment, and anything else. Subtract that amount from your remaining budget.
  • The amount that remains is your savings potential. In theory, this dollar amount is how much you could be saving each month.

Now, whether you end up saving that entire savings potential each month is up to you. Perhaps you want to save more and decide to cut back on some of your entertainment expenses. Or maybe you're concerned about overextending yourself, so you decide to save a little less.

Regardless, your savings potential can be used as a guide to decide on your monthly savings target. And it’ll help you better assess your savings skills each month.

2. Do your saving on pay day

Here’s an easy way to put saving before spending. Literally.

When your paycheck gets direct deposited into your account, make saving your first order of business … before you make any purchases. Log onto your bank’s mobile app that morning, make your transfer(s), and boom — you’re done!

Too often, we spend our paychecks and save whatever’s left over at the end. However, by putting saving first, you’ll rest easy for the remainder of your pay period knowing that your savings are taken care of. Plus, you’ll have a much better idea of what money is OK to spend on nonessentials — concert tickets, dinner dates, and more.

3. Set up automatic transfers

Now, let’s take the effort out of saving!

Set up automatic transfers so that every pay day, the appropriate amount of money gets automatically deposited into your savings account(s) without you having to so much as lift a finger. Automatic transfers take all the thinking and stressing out of saving money. It’s taken care of for you. How nice is that?

Bonus tip: Set up goal-specific savings accounts and make separate automatic transfers into each account regularly. You can then monitor your progress toward each of your goals, whether it’s a new car, Caribbean vacation, down payment on a home, or kitchen renovation you’ve been dreaming of for years.

Looking for an alternative? Set up direct deposit from your paycheck to your savings account so those funds never touch your checking account.

4. Take full advantage of salary increases

Getting a raise is a pretty awesome feeling. Now, let’s make sure you’re doing your best to maximize that new income!

Sometimes, we get so caught up in our new salaries — from a promotion or yearly bonus — that we use too much of the extra income on nonessentials. Maybe we splurge on a new car when our current one is perfectly fine. Or we feel our higher salary justifies a new lifestyle of spending way more on clothing or dining out.

Instead, allocate as much of your extra salary to savings as you can. It wasn’t too long ago that you got by on a lesser salary. So, in theory, you could put all that extra money towards savings.

Now, expecting yourself to save all that extra salary would be unrealistic. After all, life expenses naturally change over time. The point is this: Try not to use a higher salary as an excuse to add unnecessary expenses to your life, while leaving your savings as is. Do your best to keep your expenses as close to your pre-raise life as you can to pocket a lot of that extra cash coming in.

Are you ready to become an active saver?

Get help creating your consistent savings plan by stopping by your nearest Citizens Bank branch to speak with a banker today.

Also, with One Deposit Savings from Citizens Bank™, the monthly maintenance fee is waived if you make one deposit of any amount each month.

Get a jump on your journey with one of our savings solutions.

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