Balancing Act: Save for Tomorrow While Enjoying Life Today

Save for Tomorrow While Enjoying Life Today It can be difficult to save for the future when so much of your paycheck goes toward everyday expenses — especially if you'd like to have some fun now. But you don't need to sacrifice everything in order to build a solid financial future. A few key strategies can help you balance enjoying life today and planning for tomorrow.

Start saving early. Even if you can't afford to save a lot of your paycheck for the future, it's encouraging to know that setting aside a little money each year can make a big difference down the road. With time on your side, the earlier you start saving, the less you'll need to set aside each year. Conversely, waiting to save could be costly. To see how much extra you'll need to save each year if you wait to get started, use the Cost of Delay calculator at Boost your contributions whenever you get a raise, before you get used to having the extra money. And if you qualify for the retirement savers' tax credit, Uncle Sam's help means you can afford to save even more. Visit for details.

Cut back on unnecessary expenses. You may not need to make sacrifices to find some extra money to save. Review your spending for a month and look for easy ways to cut back — even if it's bringing your lunch to work once or twice a week. Run your numbers through the Small Change Big Savings calculator at to see how big a difference a little savings can make over the long run if you invest the extra money for retirement.

Save in advance for vacation and other short-term goals. Rather than racking up expensive debt that will make it more difficult to save in the future, start planning for vacation, holiday gifts, and other expenses ahead of time. Setting aside a small amount from each paycheck for a vacation fund starting months in advance makes it much easier to come up with the money.

Search for extra sources of income. If you're already stretching your paycheck as far as it will go, think about ways you can boost your income to fund saving for your future. Consider part-time consulting, a seasonal job in the evenings or weekends during the holiday season, selling stuff you don't need, or taking advantage of the gig economy.


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