Saving for retirement brings to mind 401(k) accounts, pension plans, and investment strategies, but it doesn’t have to be complicated and overwhelming. These are great ways to plan for retirement, but it can be much simpler with easy, day-to-day habits and actions that will ensure you start saving the right way. From general savings tips, banking, and credit tips, to food and entertainment tips, here are the best ways to save today for a happy retirement.

General Tips

Budgeting is the best place to start. Collect all of your receipts for one month and add these up at the end to determine how much is spent on monthly expenses, food, entertainment, etc. You will see what you are spending your money on and try to stick to that amount each month.

Short term goals can be easier to manage. Even if it’s as simple as saving $20 a week or only allowing yourself to go out for dinner once a month. These small savings can make a big impact.

Rethink your purchases. If you’re looking at a pair of shoes that cost $50 and you make $10 an hour, are the shoes worth spending five hours of work (six or seven with taxes)? Divide purchases by your hourly wage and decide if the purchase is necessary.

Planning For RetirementBanking Tips

Pay off your credit card each month. Keeping your credit cards paid off entirely will save you from paying hefty interest charges. The added benefit of this is that it will help your credit score!

Use ATMs from your bank. Using an ATM from another bank can cost you a fee. Finding an ATM from your bank will save you a significant amount on ATM fees that are outside your network.

Free debt counseling is available from Consumer Credit Counseling Services. If setting a budget and paying off debts isn’t your forte, this non-profit organization can help you out.

Freeze your credit card. When spending is getting out of control and you need to take a break, literally freeze your card in a bag of water. Our call your credit card company and put a hold on the account. The time it takes the thaw the water might be enough to change your mind.

Food Savings

Bring your lunch to work may be the most hated savings tip, but it is effective. According to forbes.com, Americans spend $936 on going out to lunch every year. Bring a bagged lunch may be a hassle, but can make a big impact on your finances.

Plan your meals so that you are only buying what you need and use up all of what you bought. Being creative with how you use food and utilize leftovers will save you on grocery bills as well as gas bills when you take multiple trips to the grocery store.

Drink water at meals to save on expensive soda drinks or alcohol.

 retirement planningMiscellaneous Savings

Check out the library for movies, books, and music. Netflix is convenient, but a free, or minimal cost for a movie night will keep money in your account. Libraries also offer e-books and music as well.

Use smaller amounts of laundry detergent and only half of a dryer sheet. Detergents are concentrated enough so the smallest suggested amount will work just as well.

Set a spending limit on gifts for Christmas, birthday, and other holidays. When a limit is set, this will benefit everyone in the family.

Planning for retirement is a large umbrella, but there are small ways in which saving can be achieved. Start adding to your retirement fund today with these easy tips and be on your way to a happy retirement.