Saving for retirement can seem like a daunting task, but it’s often the small changes we make in life that add up to a big overall impact. Much like dieting and exercising, making small adjustments to what we do each day has a bigger impact. Try these six tips to easily adjust your finances to help you save for your retirement goals.
Use credit cards to your advantage
You probably already use credit cards, but are you using them to your advantage? Take a look at the cards you use and what you get in return. If you don’t get much, consider switching to another card. Various cards offer varying amounts of cash back, travel points, and other perks that can benefit your lifestyle. If you use a card that offers 2% cash back, you’ll get back some of the change over the year that you can add to your retirement savings just from your normal spending habits.
Analyze your recurring subscriptions
If you’ve ever signed up for a free trial and then neglected to cancel it, you’re not alone. There is even a term for this phenomenon: gray fillers. These are the monthly recurring charges that you may even forget you signed up for, and these are services you probably don’t even use. Set up a reminder in your calendar once a month to go through your credit card statements and specifically look for subscriptions and really analyze them. Do you really use all of them? If you’re not, give them the boot. Subscription services can quickly add up. If you’re subscribed to multiple services that accomplish the same goal (multiple streaming services for example), try canceling them and leaving just one, to see if you even miss the others. This can save you a good amount of money, which you can put towards your retirement funds. And in the future, if you sign up for a free trial, set yourself a reminder to cancel it before you’re charged the monthly fee.
Insurance is a part of life and the premiums you pay can go up every year. When you first signed up, you might have received a discount, which probably fades over the years. If you contact your agent and ask for a review, they may be able to offer you additional savings, which you can then invest in your retirement fund.
Mortgage payments every two weeks
Many people are used to paying their mortgage once a month, but there are some advantages to paying your mortgage twice a month or every two weeks. Paying every two weeks means you’ll end up making an extra mortgage payment every year, getting you closer to paying off your home faster. Not only does this help you pay off your mortgage sooner, but it also saves you money and interest since you pay off the mortgage in less time.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, some service providers incentivize you if you pay your bill annually instead of monthly. Check with your insurance company and subscription services (think streaming services, shopping subscriptions, etc.) to see if you save money by paying for the year upfront instead of monthly installments. The savings here can add up and you can add them directly to your retirement account.
A relatively easy way to save for retirement is to use your 401(k), if available, and if you have the ability to automatically increase the amount you save each year, this is an easy way to increase your save without feeling it. . If you get a raise every year and automatically increase your 401(k) contribution, you won’t notice much of a difference in your take home pay, but it can significantly increase your retirement savings and get worse over time.
While not every one of these tips is right for everyone, there may be a strategy to suit your specific needs. Saving for retirement is a long-term goal and the earlier you start, the more time you have to grow your money.