American spending habits are being increasingly questioned as the saving rates of many citizens continue to plummet. In fact, the St. Louis Federal Reserve releases data every month on personal household savings rates. In 7/2016, the savings was a measly 5.7%. To put that into perspective, the rate just 50 years ago was literally double that.
Just as well, the vast majority of other industrialized nations have a higher personal savings rate than the United States of America. Considering the standard quality of life in America is significantly higher than many other developed nations, there is a clear disconnect between how much Americans are making and how much they’re spending. In this vein, it has come to light that although Americans should be saving between 10 and 15% of their annual income as a rule of thumb, an astounding 7/10 Americans have less than $1,000 in savings.
This sort of savings illiteracy is only becoming more pervasive and more impactful. Thus, we need to take a stand and reverse the trend. In order to do so, here are several helpful hints for living a financially responsible life:
Use the internet for budgeting—throw paper to the wind:
In recent years, the technological boom has molded nearly aspect of society, budgeting tools included. There is an abundance of free online tools men and women can use to plan their budgets, see where they can save, and form an easy-to-adhere-to savings plan. Generally, it comes up with a dollar figure based on the dollar amount you earn or the percentage of earned income you want to put away. In just a half hour, you could have the financial plan that will bring stability back into to your life.
Associate with other fiscally responsible individuals.
Jim Rohn said we are the average of the five people we spend the most time with, and our finances are certainly not excluded from this broad but accurate analysis. If your friends and family are also trying to put away money and are also invested in their own fiscal well-being, then you, by extension, will be more likely to save successfully.
To this end, if you live alone, I suggest meeting up with a group of others who are striving to save some cash. This way your goal becomes more attainable and you are able to witness others gain the budgetary discipline you want, which makes it more realistic, and thus, more achievable.
S.M.A.R.T. stands for:
Saving money is difficult, and it’s nearly impossible without having the proper goals in purpose. They need to be objective so you can hold yourself accountable, and the only way your budgeting goals can be objective is if they’re quantified and adhere to the above parameters.
Remember—the only person who suffers from a lack of savings is you. Take care of your future self the way you deserve.