One of the hardest things to master within personal finances is how to find money to save. If things are already tough with the money available, how can someone find a way to actually put some money aside? There are ways to do it, and they might be reasonably simple as long as you understand your personal habits and how to deal with them.
One of the main principles of a healthy budgeting system is to spend less than what you earn. Make sure that you separate what is superfluous from what is mandatory. There are things that are clearly mandatory, like your rent. While others are clearly superfluous, although they can be really cool, like an Apple Watch back in 2015.
Mandatory? Just pay early
You need to make sure that you pay for all your mandatory expenses right away. You can even pay your rent ahead of time if you have money available. Don’t let your money hanging around for ten days and get surprised when you have to pay rent on the first of the month. The false feeling that you have too much in your account will drive you to bad decisions on how to spend your money. The bigger the expense, the most important it is to pay it right away. But you need the money out of your sight.
As soon as you pay for your mandatory expenses, take a good portion, say 20% and stash in your savings (let it be a mattress, coin jar, or savings account). The recommendation of 20% is arbitrary and depends on how aggressively you want to save. It is also better to start from a small portion and increase it over time. The reason for that is that you will need some money due to bad planning and emergencies. You might have forgotten to include a medicine that you only buy every three months, or you might have to pay for a taxi after a late day at work.
Save out of sight
Saved money is money that you put out of your sight. When saved money is within easy reach, like in a checking account, the temptation is too strong. Try a real savings account, or maybe a savings account in a different bank. Or make your coin jar one that you need to break to access the money and put it in your top shelf. This way you won’t use your saved money to pay for a pizza on Sunday. You should probably just cook for yourself, it is usually cheaper.