22 Sep

How to Start Saving on an Entry-Level Salary

If you have an entry-level job and feel like you’re already stretching your salary as far as it will go, savings might be the last thing on your mind.

Saving for retirement or building an emergency fund isn’t possible until you get that raise, right? Well there’s good news: You don’t have to wait for a bigger paycheck to start putting money aside.

Saving money isn’t about earning more — it’s about spending less. Trimming some expenses and cutting others altogether can add up to significant savings over time. With a few cost-conscious moves, you could cover all your financial bases and start saving money today.

Adopt a Frugal Lifestyle

Saving money doesn’t just happen; it starts with a commitment. Decipher your needs and wants, and limit how often you splurge on things you could do without. You may find you can get by — and live just as happily — with significantly fewer purchases.

When you feel like buying a new outfit or stereo system, simply take that money and put it into your savings account instead. Turn to alternative forms of entertainment — make dinner at home for friends, spend time outdoors instead of the mall, visit museums on free days. Treat yourself just once in a while, and those occasions will be all the more special.

Cut Easy Corners

Trimming everyday expenses can add up to significant savings over the course of a year. Try these money-saving ideas that won’t leave you feeling like you’re skimping.

  • Dine out less. Keep a stash of leftovers in the freezer to help you resist heading to a restaurant after a long day at work.
  • Buy only the groceries you need — and eat them. Think about the money you waste on produce that spoils and canned goods that collect dust.
  • Swap DVDs and books with friends or check them out from the library.
  • Visit a beauty school for discounted haircuts and spa treatments.
  • Cut commuting costs by carpooling, taking the bus or telecommuting.
  • Go generic with off-brand groceries, medications and clothing.
  • Use compact fluorescent light bulbs in your home. They’re more energy efficient and last longer.
  • Volunteer at fairs and festivals for free admission.
  • Switch to basic cable or drop it altogether — unless you really need hundreds of channels.

Bank It

It’s also a good idea to consistently put any unexpected money — an income-tax refund, a birthday present, overpayment on a bill — directly into savings. If you receive a pay raise, consider increasing your savings contributions or direct deposit.

A savings account at Navigator Credit Union can help you reach your savings goals. Call us today at 800-344-3281 or visit our Web site at www.navigatorcu.org.