If you’re thinking about going back to school, buying a home, purchasing a car, or even taking a vacation, you’re going to need a way to pay for it. You can start with some simple steps now that can help you save up and get the money you need to fund your lifestyle. Here are five ways you can pay for the things you want and not break the bank.
Make and Follow a Budget
One of the first things you should do is create a budget to outline your expenses and keep track of your spending. Take note of your income, your bills, your living expenses, and the money you spend on luxuries. Each time you spend money, whether it’s a bill or movie tickets, track it against your budget. When you make deposits, make note of this too. Check your budget each week to stay on top of your spending, and make a plan to set some money aside for savings.
Make Regular Deposits to Your Savings
If you don’t already do so, start setting money aside in your savings account. You can make this a monthly deposit or a deposit each time you receive your pay. A good rule of thumb to follow when figuring out how much to set aside each month is to deposit around 20% of your income.
Similar to setting aside savings, investments can land you a potentially large return over time. Several assets to consider investing in include certificates of deposit, money market accounts, government bonds, treasury securities, municipal bonds, and long-term stock items. High-dividend stocks, which pay out over a longer period of time, are also valuable ways to make investments toward your future.
Learn How to Trade Stocks
If you’re looking to capitalize immediately, think about playing the stock market as an active trader. Day trading and swing trading involve purchasing stocks and selling them within a short time frame. With day trades, you’re buying stocks and selling them within the same day. Swing trading involves purchasing or shorting securities and holding them for days, weeks, or even months before you sell them. It takes some time to learn, but if you get good at active trading, you can make quite a bit in returns.
Take on a Second Job
You can always look for some extra work if you’re strapped for cash. Look into things that interest you, offer a challenge, or get you excited. This will help make the extra work enjoyable, especially if you can find part-time work or start a side gig doing something you love. For example, you might contribute as a freelancer to blogs and websites you enjoy reading, or find work as a product reviewer and get paid to try out products you love.
In addition to these methods of saving and budgeting, be sure to pay down your debts. The sooner you can pay down most or all of your debt, the sooner you can achieve true financial freedom to put your money toward the things you want.