Saving for your future doesn't have to be complicated. Here are four simple tips that can save you big money. Watch the video, and see below for even more resources.
1. Know where your money goes
It doesn't matter whether you do it on your computer, on your phone or with good old-fashioned pen and paper - just be sure to track your spending!
For your computer, many banks and credit unions provide spending analysis tools free as part of their online banking services. Some good examples are Bank of America, PNC, Wells Fargo and Citibank. Check with your bank or credit union to see what kind of tools it provides.
If you use a smartphone, you might try a free app such as Mint or Toshl.
Finally, AARP provides a number of resources you can use to make sure you're on the right track for retirement. The following calculators are helpful and easy to use:
- Retirement Calculator: Find out how to retire the way you want
- Health Care Costs in Retirement Calculator: Are you saving enough?
- Social Security Calculator: When should you claim your benefits?
- 401(k) Calculator: How much should you be contributing?
2. Seal the leaks
Most of us have that one (well, maybe more than one!) magazine that shows up in the mail every week or two but never gets read. Canceling that subscription is a great way to save money, but sometimes actually doing so can be a challenge in its own right. This eHow article should make the process a little easier: How to Cancel a Magazine Subscription.
Another way money "leaks" out of our wallets is through energy costs - heating and cooling your home can get expensive. But there are things you can do to eliminate waste. The Department of Energy has some great money-saving advice here: Heating and Cooling Tips.
3. Show me the (free) money!
Make sure you're maximizing your retirement savings. If you aren't enrolled in your company's 401(k) program, contact your HR department for details and to see if you're eligible - especially if there is an employer matching contribution.
If you are enrolled, access the website of the financial management company that handles your account to see where it stands. Common ones are Fidelity, Vanguard and T. Rowe Price, but there are many others. Your HR department is also the place to go if you're unsure about who is managing the account.
4. Get crafty!
What do you love to do? You may be surprised at how easily you can turn a hobby into extra cash. These tip sheets are a great place to start if you want to learn more: 5 Tips to Turn Your Hobby Into Cash and 10 Ideas You Can Start From Home. Whether it's arts and crafts, dog-walking, baking or something else entirely, there may be a way to make money while doing something you love - so what are you waiting for?!