For many jobholders, figuring out ways to save money for retirement seems an impossible task. The conventional wisdom says that, for now, you’ll have to work longer than previous generations to finance your golden years.
Still, you can save significantly more money than you do now. We found ways to save money and add to your savings account.
- Get a raise and continue living on your old salary. Seriously. Many people can get a great return from an investment in human capital. Audit a class on Coursera.org for free, and you might be able to use your new knowledge to potentially get a promotion and a raise. Even a 5% raise for the median U.S. income of $53,889 would be an additional $2,694.45 a year.
- Max out your 401(k) contribution. Many employers match 401(k) contributions up to 3 % of your salary.
- Bring lunch from home a few days a week. Packing a lunch can be cheaper than eating out. It can also be healthier assembling sandwiches, salads and other entrees and snacks with quality ingredients.
- Pay off credit cards. A Many Americans carry thousands of dollars in credit card debt. Reduce this debt and you cut your interest payments.
- Drink filtered tap water. Consider how much you spend on bottled water and instead consider that money sitting in your savings account instead.
- Make your own pizza. Use prepared pizza dough, jarred sauce and pre-shredded cheese to make a pizza, which will likely cost less than delivery.
- Use the library. Libraries remain treasure troves of great books and other resources. Many municipalities have developed networks so that if your local branch doesn’t have what you need, it can borrow the item from another branch.
- Keep your car another year. Holding on to your vehicle for an extra year or more will enable you to delay the expense of a replacement. If you take care of maintenance, you’ll also spend less per year to own a car than you would if you sold it sooner.
- Find free community events. Most communities have long lists of free concerts, movies and festivals.
- Shop thrift. Discount and thrift stores can help you save significantly on quality clothing, shoes and wardrobe accessories.
- Be a better grocery shopper. Using coupons, researching specials and buying store brands can add up over time.
- Cut back on gift giving. Reduce holiday gift buying through a gift exchange, a white elephant swap or a children-only policy
- Drop your gym membership. If you’re not finding time to go to the gym regularly, drop the membership. As an alternative, consider a walk or jog in a public park. Many parks also have exercise equipment. In addition, you might consider purchasing inexpensive, second-hand gear for your home.
- Opt for a staycation. Take off work, check out a good book from the library and sit on your back porch with a glass of sun tea. Bliss? Yes? You would save the money you didn’t spend on travel and hotels.
- Use your change. Put your change in a jar and get it counted! Many grocery stores have coin-counter machines with no fee if the money is applied to a gift card. Then, use the money for grocery shopping.
- Call your cable, Internet, and phone providers. Ask politely about current promotions. Drop services you don’t use and save even more.
- Buy discounted gift cards for things you already buy. Restaurants and online retailers often offer gift card deals. For example, your local restaurant or chain may offer a bonus when you purchase a card in a certain amount.
Implementing these money-saving tips is a good start to improving your financial standing. For help putting together a full retirement plan, consult a financial advisor to help prepare you for the future.