Two-thirds of U.S. adults worry about money. And a shocking amount of households live paycheck to paycheck. If you have dreams of actually saving money, the time to start is now. 

Here are 5 ways to start saving and stop stressing about money.

“One day. Or day one. You decide”- Paulo Coelho

  1. Set a savings goal.

The first thing to do is set a goal for saving money. Consider what you are saving for both the long term and the short term. Then, decide how much you will need to save for those goals.

Short term:

  • Home improvement projects
  • Vacations
  • Immediate education expenses
  • Emergency fund
  • New car

Long term:

  • Down payment on a future home
  • Expensive home items that will need replaced (i.e. HVAC system, roof)
  • Kid’s future education
  • Retirement
  1. Prioritize saving into your budget first.

If you have a goal of making saving and investing a priority, try out the reverse budgeting method. With this type of budgeting, you actually consider your savings and investing goals and numbers first, and then focus on the rest of your budget. This way you are intentional about your savings goals and make that your first priority.

  1. Make your budget work for you.

Living beyond your means is stressful. With budgeting, you can give yourself more peace of mind. Once you have decided how much you will save first, include your monthly expenses into your budget to make sure that you can plan your spending and limit overspending. 

There are many different types of budgets to choose from. When your focus is saving money, adjust the rest of your budget to make that goal and priority and attainable each month. 

  1. Find ways to cut spending.

If you find that you can’t save as much each month as you would like, evaluate your current expenses and consider cutting back on wants or nonessentials such as:

  • Eating out
  • Costly entertainment (internet, cable, and streaming services)
  • Unused apps and subscriptions
  • Unused memberships
  • Wait 24 hours before making large purchases

Also, look at your other fixed monthly expenses to see what you can spend less on. Consider:

  • Grocery and meal planning to save money
  • Seeing if you can get a better price on car insurance
  • Utilities
  • Car and transportation costs
  • Phone plans
  1. Look for free and cheap activities.

Be more purposeful about planning free and budget-friendly activities with family and friends in order to save more money. There are many options of things to do instead of spending a lot of money on entertainment:

  • Visit parks and arboretums 
  • Hike, bike, and exercise in nature
  • Try out new meal recipes at home or make a favorite restaurant copy-cat recipe
  • Invite friends and family over for coffee or potlucks
  • Visit libraries and see their list of events
  • Look at community event listings for free programs and local entertainment

Make saving money a priority and stress less knowing that you are prepared for unexpected expenses and will be able to meet your short and long term goals.