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Saving money is not easy, but years ago I learned an invaluable lesson. I was on a coach trip and one of the ladies told me that whenever she got a raise, she put that increase away in a savings account. She was on a fixed income and she said (mostly rightly) that if you had lived on that income for a year, then you could live without the raise.
So what I do is when I get paid once a month, I only put down in my check account balance the amount that I earned last year. And I work from that, only. If an emergency does come up, I do use it as I have that extra cushion that I have squirreled away each month. It is not as hard as it seems. If you get lots of money for your raise (could you adopt me?), then put a percentage away, say fifty or seventy-five. It really is quite painless. Again, I always had two/three and sometimes four jobs.
When I bought my first car, I did not want my standard of living to go down, so I earned enough money for gas and walking around money. Before you turn up your nose, I had some of the best part-time jobs that usually turned into full-time jobs. And my best friends came from those part-time jobs, and, let's face it, a fantastic friend is priceless.
Another tip is when you receive your raise each year, increase the amount you are putting into your 401k. Even if you increase just 1% it will show in the end.
I recently got my annual raise and have been putting it into savings. If I don't use it, it's like I never got it. A friend of mine read somewhere (not sure where) that a person has been living on the same salary for 10 years by doing this. So yes, it can be done!
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If you get a pay raise, or a bonus, pretend you didn't get it and continue to live within your previous budget. Put the extra money into savings every month.
By Kathy Y.