By Suzanne H., Sr. Content Specialist and Guest Blogger
Saving money can be hard. Each year I’m sure you do your best to pay down your debts and save a little on the side for a rainy day. It’s what I try to do, too.
But so far this year I have found it to be a little more difficult. With the payroll tax expired and everyday living expenses rising, there seems to be less and less of my paycheck left for the things I want or need. The pinch is being felt from the grocery store all the way to my IRA.
I am faced with a new reality, but what hasn’t changed is the fact that I still need to save. I’m not retirement-ready, and like many I have doubts about Social Security. And I am sure I am not the only one, because it doesn’t matter if you’re 10 years away from retirement or 31 years like me, we’re all faced will the same dilemma: How can I save more?
Here are some sensible decisions worth considering to make saving a little easier.
- Save Your Tax Refund
Your 2012 tax return is due April 15. If you’re getting a refund, consider putting it into savings. Or better yet, request to have your refund automatically deposited into your savings account. Doing so may keep you from spending it on fancy technology you don’t need.
- Pay Yourself First
After your paycheck is deposited into your checking account, it can be way too easy to spend it. Do you pay down more of your credit card balance? Do you put a little more toward your mortgage payment? Or do you finally buy that treadmill that you have been eyeing all week? It can be a tough decision. But an important strategy to consider is paying yourself first. It’s something I do with my money. To keep it easy, I have a portion of every paycheck automatically deposited into my savings account and the remaining deposited into my checking account. This is something you may want to consider to help you grow your savings over time.
- Make Retirement Your Main Concern
Newsflash: You can’t finance your retirement. You might have been able to finance your cars, your house and college, but when it comes to retirement you’re on your own. Your only option to prepare for it is to save. So think about making your yearly contributions to your tax-deferred retirement accounts a priority. Think about opening an IRA. Think about how much you will need to retire. And think about how your retirement funds should be allocated for long-term growth. These are critical decisions only you can make to help you save enough for retirement.
What penny-wise decisions have you made to help you save more money?
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Suzanne H. has been with Scottrade since January 2012. She oversees the Scottrade Blog and manages the content on About Us.