October 19-25 is National Save for Retirement Week. Consider this your official reminder to make retirement saving a priority starting this week. To help you do that, here are 10 simple ideas.
1. Set up automatic retirement account deposits.
Even $15 or $20 a month is much better than nothing, especially if your employer matches your contributions. Reevaluate the amount you can save every few months with the goal of increasing it little by little.
2. Determine to deposit money gifts received throughout the year into your retirement account.
Consider these to be gifts you’re just waiting until retirement to open.
3. Have a cash-back credit card? Don’t spend the earnings.
Invest them into your retirement account instead.
4. Trade your next vending machine treat for a more secure future.
Two treats a week, at about $1.50, adds up to an extra $78 a year that you can invest for retirement.
5. Consider refinancing your mortgage and allocating the money you save for retirement.
To estimate how much you could save, do a quick online search for “refinance calculator” and enter in the details of your current versus future interest rate. The calculator will show you how much you could possibly save, as well as how many months it will take for you to cover the bank fees with those savings. For example, on a $200,000 home owned for 5 years at an 8% rate, a refinance to 3% would result in over $600 in monthly savings ($7,200 each year). Even if your closing costs were $3,000, you’d break even in just five months.
6. Round up your checkbook.
When you make a purchase, round up the payment to the next dollar. A $7.30 payment would round to $8.00 in your checkbook, creating an invisible savings account. At the end of the month, take the unanticipated extra and move it to your savings account.
7. Begin tracking your spending this week by keeping all receipts.
At the end of the month, look back to see where your money went and how you might cut back, freeing up a few dollars for retirement saving.
8. Adjust your W-4.
Getting a tax refund at the end of the year may seem like a bonus, but it can also tempt you to spend it all at once. Either put the refund towards retirement or adjust withholdings to increase your take-home pay. Just make sure to put those extra funds into your retirement account.
9. Challenge yourself to forego eating out for a month.
Instead, plan all meals based on store specials in your area and what you currently have on hand. To help you stick to the plan, cook extra portions and freeze them for lunches at work or busy nights when you don’t have much time to cook. At the end of the month, put the extra money saved toward retirement.
10. If you tend to use cash, designate a retirement coin jar.
Adopt a “spend no coins rule” and drop all extra change into your jar. At the end of the month, count it up and deposit that amount into your retirement account. If you have children, let them help you sort and count the coins. This is an easy way to start teaching them the importance of saving.
For additional ways to save, download the free eBook below.