Budget Blues Keeping You from Saving for Retirement?

Budget Blues Keeping You from Saving for Retirement?

Do you have enough money to save for retirement? In a bankrate.com survey,* 36% of people said they are able to save some for retirement, but not enough. Furthermore, 32% said they are not able to save at all right now because of other obligations. In whichever circumstance you find yourself, the following tips may help you find (more) money for retirement.

Create a plan

One way to find out if you have enough to save for retirement is to set a budget. For a successful budget, be sure to:

  • Overestimate essential spending, such as utilities and transportation. Even if they are accurate today, costs could rise without warning.
  • Include money for emergencies and wants. Not planning for these could open you up to failure.
  • Stay with it, even if you mess up. Start over and work your plan, making adjustments if necessary.

Track your spending

Financial planners differ about how often you should track spending. Some advocate 24/7 tracking, forever. Others suggest that short-term tracking may be enough to get you on course.

Regardless of how you record expenses, you are probably spending more than you think. Create a “spending diary” and write down everything you spend.

Avoid impulse buys

Impulse purchases can bust your budget. And if you use a credit card, it’s like spending money you haven’t yet made. That can rob your retirement. To help curb impulse purchases:

  • Choose to wait. Sometimes you realize you really didn’t want or need the item at all. Figure out if the cost to your peace of mind is worth the price you will pay on the impulsive purchase.
  • Save for major purchases instead. Include this line item in your budget and commit to that goal. That way your budget works for you, not against you. Temporary wants may need to take a back seat for a while, but it will be worth the wait.

4 Ways to Save for Retirement This Month

With a few online searches or phone calls, you could be paying less next month for these expenses.

  1. Talk Cheaper. If you’re under a contract, ask your cell phone provider if you can switch to a less expensive plan. Prepaid services often cost even less.
  2. Negotiate cable fees. While there are cheap alternatives to cable, like online movie services, some of us just can’t live without it. Call your service provider to see what deals they may be offering, but aren’t promoting.
  3. Price compare premiums. Shop around for the best insurance rates for coverage your family actually needs. You may have more than you need, or you may be able to find more competitive premiums.
  4. Cut credit card interest. Take advantage of low, up-front credit card transfer rates and aim to pay off the card during the introductory offer time. Some even offer no interest on transfers over that period.

Creating and sticking to a budget today can help you start or continue saving and investing for your future.

*Source: Bankrate retirement savings poll, September 2013.