According to Moody Analytics, young Americans have stopped saving money. And by young, we are talking about adults under age 35 — the so-called millennial generation. That compares with a positive savings rate of about 3 percent for those 35 to 44; 6 percent for those 45 to 54; and 13 percent for those 55 and older.
Here are five of my favorite almost-painless ways that any determined person really can spend less to save more.
Become your favorite creditor. Take an envelope and write your name and the amount you intend to save from each paycheck and place it in the front of your “Bills to Pay” file. Make this the first bill you pay each month. If you use online bill pay, add your savings account as the number one creditor — the most important bill that is paid automatically each month.
Stash a C-note. Crash-save until you have enough in coins and currency to exchange for a crisp, new $100 bill. Stash it into a very safe place known only to you. Whenever you get the urge to purchase something or feel overcome by a case of the “I wants,” tell yourself, OK, but you’ll need to go home and get that $100 bill. For some reason, the urge will pass quickly.
Knowing you can if you want, but that you choose not to do so has a wonderful preventive effect. You are going to amazed.
Live on less. Rein in your lifestyle so that it fits into 80 percent of your net income. Reduce spending in every area of your life by a small amount, and you’ll be able to achieve this probably sooner than you ever dreamed. And the other 20 percent? Give away 10 percent and save 10 percent. You’ll never be broke, and giving to others will fill your soul with gratitude and contentment.
Attack toxic debt. High-rate credit-card debt is dangerous for your wealth and your health! Make a plan to pay off all your credit-card debts quickly. Yes this is going to require sacrifice, but it will be for a short time. Reaching $0 balances on all credit cards is critical to your financial health.
Consider cash. It’s a proven fact that you spend about 30 percent more if you depend on plastic (debit or credit cards) to pay for day-to-day spending. Leave the plastic at home. Live as much as possible with cash and save the difference. Inconvenient? Yes. That’s the point.