Putting extra money aside for your savings is much easier said than done – especially because 54% of Americans report living paycheck to paycheck (which likely only got worse during the pandemic). But according to financial experts, the pandemic is exactly why it’s important to start saving money.
Having a financial emergency can be shocking at any time, and COVID-19 really highlighted the importance of having some type of savings. In addition to preparing for an unexpected financial crisis, saving money can help you plan for retirement or save for a big purchase like a house or vacation. Not only that, but research from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau tells us the following:
- Consumers who don’t actively save money often rely on “high-cost financial services, such as pawn or payday loans.”
- 71% of households face difficulties when saving because of unplanned expenses.
- “More than half of households struggle to make ends meet after their most expensive financial shocks.”
As an hourly worker, especially one making minimum wage, the thought of putting much needed funds into a savings account might sound scary. That’s why we’re putting together four easy to implement money saving tips specifically designed for hourly workers.
Money Saving Tips for Hourly Workers
Make a budget
Financial experts agree that understanding your current expenses is the first step towards saving money. If you’re not familiar, a budget is “a spending plan that directs your money according to your goals. Once you create a budget, you can plan, ahead of time, how you will spend your money for the week, next two weeks or the entire month.”
In order to create a budget, you need to calculate your monthly income (after taxes) and total your monthly expenses. One of the most popular budgeting structures is the 50/30/20 rule: 50% of your income is for monthly needs/expenses, 30% is for wants and desires (think going out to dinner or buying your morning coffee), and 20% is for repaying debt or putting into savings.
There are several options for understanding and creating your budget. Some opt for the pen and paper route, while others choose budgeting software. Regardless of what you choose, making a budget is a great first step to growing your savings.
Find a money saving buddy or mentor
You’re not expected to automatically know the best way to save money. That’s why finding someone to help guide you through the process can be a huge advantage. Ask family, friends, coworkers, anyone you can think of if they know someone who will provide guidance on budgeting and money saving tips.
Automate your savings
Saving money is all about creating a habit. But in our busy lives, it can be difficult to form new habits. That’s why one of the easiest ways to save money is by doing it automatically. We suggest finding a mobile app that takes the guess work out of saving. Checkout six money saving apps from The College Investor.
Use your tax refund wisely
We’re all familiar with the excitement that can surround receiving a tax refund. You may be tempted to use it to treat yourself, but the best course of action is to put (most of) it towards your savings or paying off debt.
Increasing your income and reducing monthly expenses are other great ways to save money, but can take time. While you work on those, we suggest getting started on the tips above. Hopefully by this time next year, you’ll have grown your savings to a place you’re comfortable with.