Money Maven: Saving for a rainy day

By Sheryl Rowling

Sheryl Rowling

SAN DIEGO — Q:  My New Year’s resolution was to start a savings account, but I can’t seem to do it! How can I save money?

A:   Saving money, like many goals, is more easily accomplished when you have a plan. First, decide how much you want to save. Next, develop strategies for achieving your goal. Let’s say that you want to save $400 a month. If you get paid twice a month, ask your payroll department to automatically deposit $200 out of each paycheck into your savings account. This simple step will help you reach your goal – if you don’t take the money out. In order to avoid dipping into your savings, you will need to identify ways to reduce your monthly expenses. Here are some suggestions:

  • Skip the gourmet coffee. By not spending $5 per day, you could save $150 a month!
  • Pack your lunch a few days a week. By cutting $20 a week on restaurant lunches, you could save $80 a month.
  • Go to a matinee movie and then dinner, rather than dinner first. Saving $10 a couple once a week can save $40 a month. Better yet, cook dinner at home on movie nights and save $200 a month.
  • Check into new rate plans for your home phone and cell phone. First, maybe you don’t need a home phone at all. And, your mobile carriers usually won’t tell you when a less expensive plan is available. A little research could save you $50 a month or more!

I think you get the idea… analyze your spending, then make some cuts!

Rowling is a certified public accountant, personal finance specialist, and principal of Rowling & Associates. She may be contacted via [email protected]

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