For most people, working toward financial security is a daunting task. Maintaining a job and earning a paycheck is a great start, but it’s how you treat your paycheck that ultimately determines your bottom line.
Develop healthy spending habits, invest in savings plans and make the most of your money by making it work for you.
Write Down Your Goals
Taking the initial step is often the hardest part of tackling a new project, especially if your to-do list feels like it’s never-ending. You don’t have to plan out your entire life. However, it’s important to have an idea of your short- and long-term aspirations.
Create a Budget that Supports Your Goals
Develop a weekly, monthly and yearly plan to make sure your budget defines and supports your goals. For example, you will want to set aside a certain amount of money in your budget if you plan on buying a car or a home in five years. The 50-20-30 rule is one way to create a simple budget.
Automate Your Savings
Money saved is worth more than money earned. One of the easiest ways to meet your goals is to set aside a portion of your paycheck automatically through direct deposit. By doing this, it removes the temptation to spend and takes any lack of discipline out of the picture.
Use Sub-Savings Accounts
Placing savings funds into multiple accounts can set you up to save money down the line.
Pay Off Your Debt
In a perfect world, we would all graduate college without debt. Even after paying off student loans, many people continue to struggle to pay down credit card debt. Don’t live a life burdened by debt. Instead, create a payment plan that fits your financial situation.
Leverage Good Debt
Debt is not always bad. You can leverage your “good debt” to purchase things that have the possibility of increasing in value down the road. With the right investments, your debt can be a very profitable source of income in the future.
Review Financial Statements
Erroneous charges happen. Monitoring all transactions is an important step to making wise financial decisions.
Identify Useless Purchases
It’s no secret that we all should be more mindful of what we buy and why. Reducing wasteful spending is the core of restructuring your savings plan. It’s important to identify the areas of spending to trim so you can start sending more of your earnings into an interest-bearing savings account.
Create an Emergency Fund
Life is full of surprises, and most people don’t have cash laying around when unexpected expenses occur. Creating an emergency fund makes it easier to stick to your budget and reach your financial goals, even with surprise expenses. Over time, you can plan towards building a more robust emergency fund with three to six months’ worth of expenses saved.
Start a Retirement Account
Saving goes a long way, especially for your retirement fund. The earlier you put money in an account, the more you can maximize the compound interest. One of the easiest ways to start saving is if your employer offers you a 401(k) plan. If a 401(k) isn’t available through your job, consider starting an IRA instead.
Discover Your Risk Tolerance
When the time comes to open a retirement account, you will have to determine how much and where to invest your money. AAA and Discover offer multiple programs to help you meet your short-term and long-term financial goals.
Establish an Investment Exit Strategy
Investing is always a risk no matter how much money is on the line. That’s why establishing a clearly defined exit strategy is important when it’s time to cut your losses – or take profits off the table. Learn more.
Invest in a Roth IRA
A Roth IRA is a great way to save for retirement and growing your account tax-free.
Leverage Coupons and Promo Deals
Most people fail to make the most of the resources available around them. One way is to take advantage of coupons and internet promotional codes as often as possible.
Regular Maintenance Goes a Long Way
Neglecting home maintenance or updates can lead to costly repairs. For example, taking the time to follow your car’s maintenance schedule and paying a little up front can reduce the risk of encountering more costly major issues down the road.
Aim for Low-cost Life
Plan in advance to spend less on activities like date nights. There are countless ways to save money by bringing just a little creativity into the mix. Need a few suggestions? Here’s eight.
Planning meals a week in advance will not only help you save a lot of money, it’s also an opportunity to refine your cooking skills. Now that’s a win-win.
Negotiate whenever the opportunity presents itself. Ask about how you can lower medical bills, insurance or your internet bill. If there’s nothing to lose, why not try to save some extra cash to boost your savings?
Invest in a Rich Life
According to New York Times bestselling author, Ramit Sethi, we should always be in a state of curiosity. “Small business owner? Take a course in another language like Spanish or French. You might be able to broaden your audience that way,” Sethi said. “Your thirst for education should be constant and voracious. You’ll be surprised at the things you’ll be able to pick up that’ll help you in life and at the office.”
Be Smart About Saving
One of the great benefits of being a AAA member is the abundance of financial resources available. Through AAA’s deposit program partnership with Discover, members have access to several savings products and exclusive benefits that can help to grow and easily manage their assets. Discover Bank, Member FDIC.
The content in this article is for information only and may not be applicable to you. Everybody’s financial situation is different. If you are unsure about what is the best course of action, a AAA financial advisor will work with you to discuss your options.