Self-employment has always been a big dream of mine. However, this dream comes with its own set of pros and cons.
While the freedom of working for yourself and getting paid what you are worth is one of the most appealing aspects, there are some downsides as well. The biggest con of being self-employed is that your income is not guaranteed and can be unreliable.
This is why having a year or more worth of expenses saved is so important - your emergency fund.
However, saving money isn’t just important for the self-employed – it’s important for everyone. You never know when the unexpected will happen and you’ll need to have cash on hand. In addition if you ever dream of retiring, saving and investing should be one of your top priorities. The sooner you save and the more you sock away the earlier you can retire.
It’s apparent that all of us need to be saving and for many similar reasons. So, let’s speed things up with these seven money savings hacks.
# 1 – Save a Set Percentage of Your Income
I always admire those who are able to save a high percentage of their income. Imagine how well off you’d be if you could save 50-75% of your paycheck every week! Financial security and early retirement would definitely be in the picture.
Figure out what percentage of your income you can save and stash it away each month. Increase the percentage whenever you see fit to do so.
A great way to do this is to have the "pay yourself first" mindset. This means, before you pay your bills or expenses, you save your set percentage of your income. Then, you figure out how to live on what's left.
This can be really challenging at first, but once you start for a few months, it gets easier (and you'll be saving a lot more money)!
# 2 – Automate Your Savings
Sometimes I can be a bit forgetful. I have every intention of saving that $50 a week but I forget and before I know it my money is gone.
I can simplify my savings by making it automatic and so can you. Select a specific amount to be transferred directly in your savings account each pay period.
A great savings hack to automate your savings is to setup direct deposit on your paycheck. Most payroll companies allow you to add multiple accounts to each paycheck. So, you could setup 90% to go into your checking account, and 10% to automatically deposit into your savings account.
Related: Best High-Yield Savings Accounts
# 3 – Pick Up Side Jobs
The money from my day job barely covers my monthly expenses. In order for me to save money I have to work on creating extra income.
As it has been going lately this income is well on its way of surpassing that from my day job. Luckily, this gives me a good portion to save.
I would suggest picking up a side job that you enjoy. There’s no sense in working yourself to the bones if you don’t like what you are doing.
And there are so many side hustle opportunities to choose from today. You can drive people, deliver food or groceries, side hustle online, and so much more!
# 4 – Create Multiple Income Streams
In order to save more money you may need to make more money. In addition to picking up a side job you can also work on creating several income streams.
Some possibilities are investing in dividend stocks, writing an eBook, blogging, or anything else you see fit. Creating passive income is a dream for most people but can be hard to do. I prefer trying to create semi passive income to diversify.
If you don't know where to start, keep it simple. Savings accounts (these are passive), and retirement accounts (such as a 401k or IRA).
Related: Track Your Accounts With These Tools
# 5 – Sales, Coupons, and Less Shopping
A dollar saved is a dollar earned, right? I am committed to reaching my savings goals and hopefully you are too.
In order to reach my goals I have to stick with my budget. Shopping as little as possible is what I shoot for. But of course there are some unavoidable expenses. For these I look for sales and coupons to lower the cost. I also search for coupon codes every time I purchase something online.
# 6 – Sell Your Stuff
Do double duty for yourself: de-clutter and earn some cash. Thoroughly clean out your house and sell all the unwanted or unused junk. I recently did this and ended up with several items to sell.
I plan on having a yard sale here in a couple of weeks but that isn’t the only route you can go. If you aren’t into yard sales sell your unwanted items on Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, or eBay. Put the money you make straight into your savings account.
You can even setup an iPad credit card reader so that you can take mobile payments at your house or at a garage sale, and then you can quickly and easily take payment and put the money into savings.
# 7 – Don’t Eat Out
I used to eat out for lunch every single day at work. I struggled to brown bag it for many months. Finally, a light bulb came on and I realized the price I was paying for food was just way too high.
I have been a successful brown bagger for a few months now and haven’t had any major relapses. I still do occasionally eat take out on the weekends or for dinner but I have vowed to stop doing this until I hit my savings goal.
It’s shocking to see how fast money spent on take-out food adds up.
Stick With the Plan
I am always up for a challenge and for me creating a savings goal is fun. It can be fun for you, too. Once you have decided on your savings amount set yourself a deadline and race to beat it.
Come up with your own savings hacks and dedicate yourself to the plan. All of the sacrifices that you make will feel so rewarding in the end.
Do you have any other savings hacks that you'd want to add?
Alexa Mason is a freelance writer and wanna be internet entrepreneur. She is also a newly single mom to two beautiful little girls. She chronicles her journey as a single mom trying to make it big at www.singlemomsincome.com.