Whether you’re new to the workforce or are approaching retirement age, saving money is something we all want to do. Money in the bank will help during an emergency and provide you with long-term stability and peace of mind.

It isn’t always easy, but with a detailed plan, concrete goals and a commitment to the process, you can see your savings grow in 2021 and beyond.

Today, we’ll look at some simple tips to help your savings pile up.

Set goals. It’s tough to hit a target when you don’t have one. Set realistic, quantitative goals from the start to help guide you. Your goals can be small, but they should impact the thinking behind your spending. As you continue to hit smaller goals and build savings, slowly raise the bar and challenge yourself to save more.

Lower bills. Getting your monthly payments as low as possible will enable you to put more money away each month. Consider downgrading your cellphone plan or cable/streaming services. Shop around for insurance plans, and you could save hundreds on premiums. Research how to make your home energy efficient, and you can help get utility bills down. Lower monthly payments mean more savings long term.

Smarter shopping. If there’s one recurring theme in these tips, it’s planning. One of the fastest ways you can see immediate results is to change how you shop. Plan your meals out for the week, and stick to the plan regardless of how you feel. When at the store, try buying in bulk, purchasing generic brands or targeting sales and coupons. It’s shocking how much these changes alone can save you on necessary items.

Stay home. Hand in hand with meal planning and smarter shopping is staying home. Whether you realize it or not, you could be spending hundreds on food and drinks outside your house each month. This extra money adds up fast, and eliminating outside dining is one of the best ways to start saving. Use your meal planning and bulk purchases to remove things like takeout coffee and drinks from your daily routine, and you’ll be saving instantly.

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Eliminate debt. The sooner you can get rid of debt, the quicker your money starts working for you. Paying interest on credit cards and loans will make saving money seem impossible, so one of your savings goals should be to eliminate debt. Try paying down a bigger chunk of a credit card bill if you can afford to, or use any extra money from your smarter shopping habits to pay down debt faster. Once your debt is gone or lower, you can use that money for investments and other savings vehicles.

Auto-save. Technology has been a blessing for savings-conscious individuals. Take advantage of apps and accounts that round up your purchases and put the difference into savings. Use direct deposit to automatically set a dollar amount or percent of your paycheck into a savings account. When the money never enters your checking account, you’re a lot less likely to spend it.

Save windfalls. Putting unexpected gains directly into savings is one of the best long-term moves you can make. Large bonuses, unexpected tax returns or inheritances can grow your savings rapidly. Instead of making a large purchase or taking a vacation, you can add months of savings to your account.

Planning and dedication are the keys to meeting your savings goals, both short term and long term. It’s important to understand that every single purchase you make plays a role, no matter how insignificant it may seem. With these tips, you should be on your way to a healthy financial future.

Finances FYI is presented by 1st Security Bank.

At 1st Security Bank of Washington, we take a customized and personal approach to your financial well-being. We live in the communities we serve, so our branches offer tailored solutions to their communities. We believe relationships make the difference, and that sets 1st Security Bank apart.