How to Save More Money

The money you save is the fuel for achieving your financial dreams. It’s your most important money! Learn how to save more money and do it every paycheck.

Your Most Important Money

It doesn’t matter if you haven’t been a successful saver in the past. You can learn how to start saving more money in a few minutes. Be warned, saving money is relatively easy. It’s living on what’s left over that’s the hard part.

Your most important money should go towards something that will make incredible, positive differences in your life and the lives of those you love. Choosing which goals to pursue should only be done after careful consideration. Read Financial Goalsetting for inspiration.

Pay Yourself First

Start taking your most important money percentage right off the top of every paycheck you receive. I call this strategy paying yourself first because you favor greatness over mere expenses. You’ll also be putting your most important money to work for you faster, which helps you reach your promised land in less time.

Money saved can be split up between multiple financial goals. Or be single-minded with your savings and have just one. Either way, fully commit to your plan and see it through. This is how you can overcome any financial hurdle.

Setting Your Percentage

So, what’s it going to be? You could settle for the absolute, bottom floor minimum of 10% of your net pay, but I suggest setting it higher. Much higher if you can afford it. Set it at 14%, 15.5%, 17%, or maybe even 22.75%.

I use fractions in my most important money percentage examples on purpose. Even a one-half of one percent boost in your percentage can have a big impact on your wealth-building in the long run.

If you have a 401(k)-type plan at work, and it’s not what I call a dog plan, you’ve got a powerful wealth-building tool at your disposal. If you receive a match on your contributions, all the better!

With 401(k)-type plans, you set your most important money percentage with the plan, and it’s automatically deducted from your paycheck and invested. Not only is it convenient but 401(k)-type plans have much higher contribution limits than IRAs and HSAs, so be sure to take advantage if you have one.

Raising Your Percentage

Always look for ways to boost your most important money percentage even higher. Have you received a bonus, tax refund, inheritance, or other financial windfall? Put it toward the financial goal that’s number one on your list.

Last month a Best Money Newsletter subscriber emailed me (keith@keithdorney.com) with the following question (paraphrased): I want to invest a recent windfall I received into my TSP. How do I transfer those funds from my savings account to my TSP account?

Note: TSP, or Thrift Savings Plan (TSP.gov), is a 401(k)-type plan available to servicemembers and other federal government employees.

First off, I want to thank this young man, who is serving his country in the Coast Guard, for his service. Unfortunately, the TSP won’t allow transfers from his savings account: The TSP and other 401(k)-type plans only accept contributions via payroll deductions.

The workaround is for him to crank up his TSP payroll deductions to 100%. Since that leaves him with a $0 paycheck, he’ll need to make monthly money transfers from the chunk of change sitting in his savings account to his checking account to cover monthly expenses.

He should continue with these paycheck-consuming TSP deposits, even if it runs into next year until the entire windfall is transferred. Keep in mind the TSP (as well as other 401(k)-type plans) have yearly contribution limits ($23,000 for 2024 with a $7,500 catch-up contribution if you’re 50+).

Our “Coastie” is very smart. He knows the TSP is a tax-advantaged 401(k)-type plan with great investment options at a super-low cost. I’ll occasionally gaze longingly at the TSP’s investment options, jealous that their expense ratios are lower than what I’m personally invested in. The TSP is hands down this young man’s best option for building his long-term wealth.

Much like our Coast Guard friend, many have taken it a step further. By saving a high percentage of income, eliminating debt, maximizing the use of tax-advantaged accounts, and investing prudently, they’ll reach financial independence far sooner than most.

Living on What’s Leftover

Maintaining your savings percentage and living on what’s left over can be hard. Sometimes, often through no fault of your own, your budget takes a hit. An unexpected expense pops up or your income is interrupted. You need a little wiggle room.

That’s what an emergency reserve fund is for. It isn’t for a doctor’s visit or a minor car repair. Those expenses should be budgeted. It’s for true unforeseen emergencies. Make fully funding your emergency reserve fund a top priority and be sure to replace any used funds.

Reducing Your Expenses

I’m all for enjoying the moment, and sometimes that costs money. Still, if you can live on less today and increase your savings percentage even more, you can reach financial independence (or whatever your financial dream is) sooner.

There are a lot of “top ten lists” out there as to how best to reduce your expenses. I’ve added to the glut. Check out my own top 10 ways to reduce your expenses.

Becoming Financially Independent Book Series

I’ve created a new book series called Becoming Financially Independent, and I’m delighted with the early interest. If you’re a Best Money Newsletter subscriber, you will recognize many of the topics in the 3 books.

Financial independence must be on your radar as a financial goal. Being able to do what you want when you want, without having a paycheck hanging over your head is something just about everyone craves.

My 3-book series can be read in any order unless you have unwanted debt. Then you simply must start with the first one. Financial independence isn’t possible if you’re carrying high-interest debt.

Best Debt Elimination Plan: Debt Management Strategies that Get You Out of Debt Quickly and Economically

Why do I call my debt elimination plan the “best” plan? First off, it’s free, or close to it depending on the media type. It gets you out of debt faster than any other, and in the interim costs you less than other plans. At least, that’s my definition of “best” when talking money.

Trust me, my debt elimination plan contains information your creditors don’t want you to know.

Click the title above for a no-hassle download from my distributor, Book Funnel®. This title is permanently free through this link. I want everyone to have access to this potentially life-changing information. Feel free to share the link with a friend or family member.

It’s also available at Amazon® for a nominal price in paperback or audiobook (narrated by me, author Keith Dorney).

A Beginners Guide to Roth IRAs and 401(k)-Type Plans: Contribution, Conversion, and Withdrawal Strategies for Building Tax-Free Wealth

For longer-term goals like financial independence and retirement, investing in tax-free accounts is a no-brainer: Tax-free investing yields a higher after-tax rate of return because of its significant tax advantages. Book 2 teaches you how to maximize the use of these investment vehicles.

Are you motivated to reach financial independence quickly? I’ll share favorable contribution strategies that may sound sneaky and underhanded but are perfectly cool with your Uncle Sam. Take advantage before Congress changes the rules.

Purchase the e-book or paperback at Amazon®.

DIY Stock and Securities Investing: Investment Strategies for Building Wealth and Attaining Financial Independence

Combine these savings vehicles with a great investment plan, one that maximizes your returns and minimizes your risk, and you’ve created one of the most powerful investing strategies on the planet! And you’ll save even more by doing it yourself.

You’ll want to keep this comprehensive 250-page book and its detailed table of contents handy for any investment questions that may arise in the future.

Purchase the e-book or paperback at Amazon®.

[Best Money Newsletter originally published 2023 1028 on the Hunter’s Moon.]