Saving and investing are fairly ancient concepts that have more modern implications for us today. The idea of saving for the future has been around, at least since Biblical times. It was perhaps not the saving of money, but the saving of food that people focused on for millennia. They were saving so that the next year they knew that they’d have seed to plant more land and have food for the following year. It was for the purpose of being sure that they’d be prepared and be able to eat in the coming year.
These days, most people do not live in that manner. They tend to live from one check to another without thought of the future. There are still some rural citizens that practice seed saving and plant crops to ensure that they’ll have food for the following year, but most citizens in modern times tend to work to earn money, then trade money for food. Much can be said about the stability or instability of each system, but suffice it to say, it is wise to save money for the future. It may be difficult to practice, but if you do not practice it, your future could be much more difficult.
Saving is difficult for many. Saving with the purpose of investing is a little more exciting. If you save money and have the vision for investing, you have hope that it will grow over time. When I speak about investing I’m talking about decisions that will directly increase your income. In modern America, many people use the term “investing” to talk about buying a home that you plan to live in or purchasing a newer vehicle. They say that it would be a good “investment”. But the term investing should be saved for things that you put your money toward which will make money for you, particularly if you do not have to be spending lots of your time managing it. An example would be investing in a home that does not need loads of work, renting it out and allowing a reputable management company to take care of the daily maintenance needs and renters communication.
Finding money to save and then invest can be difficult, and if you’re already very strapped financially, saving money might not be an option, you may have to increase your income first. But, if you’re like many Americans, there is normally a little bit of discretionary money available work with. If you re-prioritize the money you have, you may be able to find extra dollars that you can save, and in turn, invest so that you’ll have more to put into a retirement account.
Evaluate entertainment first. Most of us have a bit of entertainment money set aside. Sometimes we get talked into deals that are above what we’d like to spend if we had time to really think through the decision. Take the time to make some calls and find out how you can reduce your spending on entertainment. If you have an internet connection, there are many free or cheap options for watching TV or movies without spending a fortune through a network company.
Think about insurance. Most Americans are over-insured. Over the years they may add insurances without evaluating whether its’ the best deal for them. Take time to go through what it is you want and need and then call around to ask for quotes. Getting the best rates and being sure that you’re not doubled up on coverage might take a few hours, but could save you big money in the end.
Use all your food. There are quotes out there that accuse Americans of throwing out 40-60% of the food that they buy and take home. Either they throw out leftovers or they don’t get around to cooking the food in the first place. This is obviously not the case for everyone, but each of us has room for improvement. Would you walk out of the market and throw half of the grocery bags that you just bought into the trash can? If not, then spend some time researching how you can reduce your grocery bills. Take that money and put it into a savings account that you’ll eventually invest.
Consolidate trips. Gasoline prices fluctuate, and while they’re not terrible at the moment, it is good practice to consider which errands you can run with others in order to save time and money!
These are just a few ideas to jump start the brainstorming process. Saving have never been, nor will it ever be easy. You’ll have to find unique solutions that fit your own situation. If you’re serious about it, however, you can do it. As you save think about how you can grow the money and invest it so that your golden years will be spent on things that you’d like to do!