If you know anything about compounding interest, you know what a powerful tool it can be for increasing your savings in the long run. The three main things that will impact how your savings grow as a result of compounding interest are: how long you save for, the interest rate you earn and how much you save. As for that last one, it can often seem like there is just no room in your budget to save more, especially when you are thinking about saving for something that seems so far away. However, here are four places you can find some money to save more.
Challenge yourself with what you DON’T buy. If you usually buy a cup of coffee a few mornings each week or typically eat out for lunch, consider cutting back (or giving up the habit altogether) and putting the money you would have spent straight into savings. $5 to $10 here and there might not seem like much but if you do this with a couple of different things and repeat it week after week, you’ll find your monthly savings increasing in no time.
Use your tax refund. If you received a tax refund this year, make sure you don’t view it as “free money.” Sure, you can use a small part of it to splurge but, remember, that’s money you earned and it can be a great way to increase your savings, whether that means funding your IRA or beefing up your house down payment or emergency fund. (As a note, if you received a large refund, you may want to revise your withholding to make sure that you’re not giving the government such a large interest-free loan next year.)
Check your benefits through work. If you work for a large corporation, chances are there are some benefits your company offers that you might be forgetting to take advantage of. Does your employer reimburse you for a gym membership? Are you eligible for a discount on your cell phone plan or will your employer pick up the tab for your phone if you use it for work calls? Does your company offer a Flexible Spending Account that allows you to put pre-tax money away to cover medical bills? Do what you have to do to take advantage of these benefits and then add up the costs you’re cutting and start transferring that amount to savings each month. The only place in your finances that you’ll notice a difference is in your account balances going up!