Strategies for Saving

Taking control of your daily finances can be tedious work, but always remember the big picture. It will go a long way toward helping you save for what you really want.
 

Follow the money

To get where you're going financially, you first need to know where you are right now. That means making a commitment to actively managing your budget.

Keep track of where your money goes and reconcile your bank statements every month. You have to follow what goes through all your accounts for this to work - including cheques, debit card transactions and credit card charges.

Financial management software packages can help with the administrative work as many financial institutions let you download your transactions directly from their Internet banking services to this software.


Go electronic

Electronic banking is a very convenient way to keep track of your money. You can get instant access to your financial information by banking online, at a bank machine, over the phone or by wireless device.

And while you're there, you can complete a wide range of banking transactions, from transferring funds to paying bills.


Analyse and trim

People who decide to take control of their cash management and track their finances are often shocked by how much they spend on impulse: that cup of coffee every morning on the way to work, those drinks with friends, those candy bars or magazines picked up on the fly.

These purchases can add up to real money in a hurry. Consider the following cost-cutting examples:

  • Find $390/year - Skip one $1.50 coffee each weekday; drink water instead, or take a walk to clear your head
  • Find $780/year - Brown-bag your lunch 3 times a week; save $5 a day and trim your waistline
  • Find $2,000/year - Organize a 5-person carpool and save $10 in parking costs (and the driving headaches) each day you don't drive

If you need some motivation for making these small sacrifices, just keep those big goals in mind. If you skip one dinner out a week, you could deposit $20 into your savings account and have $1,040 in a year for your dream trip to Bali. Wouldn't that be something!


Paying yourself first

There's another way to find more room in your budget. It's a deceptively simple approach called "paying yourself first", and there are those who swear by it.

The idea behind it is this: Each month you have a number of financial obligations that require attention, such as rent, car payments and phone bills. By the time you've paid the bills, the financial goals have often slid down the priority list and there's nothing left to set aside.

When you pay yourself first, you move yourself up that list. You deduct your savings (the dollar amount is up to you) before you pay the other guy and put it in another bank or investment account.

Now your goals and dreams are on the front burner. And that's what working is all about, isn't it?


It's your plan

Like a budget, you don't have to look at your tracking and saving strategies as hard and fast rules. But, at the very least, they will teach where your money is going and help you to get closer to your dreams.


Tips

To keep a closer eye on your finances, try CIBC Online Banking. There's no registration fee and you can download your transaction records into your favourite financial management software.

When you start to pay yourself first, open a Premium Growth Account. The higher interest will help your savings grow as you continue to put money away.