7 Ways to Make Saving Money Achievable

iStock_000004418528Small.jpg

 We all know we should be saving money — for a rainy day, for our kids' college funds, for our retirement. But knowing it and doing it can be two very different things.

If you're on a tight income, it can be hard to find the money to put towards savings, but it's critical that you do. Lacking a safety net can thrust you into an even worse financial situation in the future.

Here are 7 ways to find a little extra money and make sure you use it to build your savings.

1. Trim the Fat in Your Budget

Most of us have some areas in our budget that could be cut, even if we feel like we're living pretty lean to begin with. Can you drop your cable plan and watch your favorite shows on Hulu or Netflix? Can you learn to make meals with basic staples so you can trim a little bit off your grocery bill each week? Every little bit of extra cash you can free from your budget could be a big help to you in the future.

2. Shop Smarter

Learn to calculate "cost per unit." Use price comparison sites to make sure you're getting the best deal on big and small purchases. Make the money you spend stretch as far as it can go, and you'll have more free for savings.

3. Supplement Your Income

If your budget's as trim as it can be and you're already a savvy shopper, it may be time to consider ways to supplement your income. This could mean taking on a second job, selling your crafts on Etsy, starting a side business as a freelancer or consultant, or looking through your attic and garage for items you can sell on eBay.

Resolve that any money you make through these means goes straight to savings.

4. Pay Yourself First

Don't wait until the end of the month to see if you've got any money "left over," because you rarely will. Instead, each time you get paid, put a certain percentage directly into savings so you'll never have a chance (or the temptation) to spend it.

5. Automate It

Not sure you'll remember to pay yourself first? Set up automatic transfers from your checking to your savings account each pay period.

6. Bank Any Extra Cash

Got a tax refund? A rebate check? Received $5 in that birthday card your Great Aunt Helen sent you? Any time money comes in that you weren't expecting, put it straight into savings. You weren't counting on it in your regular budget, anyway, so you won't miss it.

7. Remember Why You're Doing It

Finding the money to build your savings can be tough, and there will be times when you're tempted to spend that money on other things. Remind yourself regularly about why you're doing this. Every dollar you put into an emergency fund or retirement account is one extra bit of comfort and security for your future. You owe it to yourself to make sure your money isn't just taking care of you now, but for years to come.