Not saving enough for retirement? Start treating your contributions like monthly bills.

Natasha Gabrielle
The Motley Fool

Saving money is an essential financial habit. Whether you're saving for future expenses, emergencies, or retirement, having extra money set aside is beneficial. Creating a savings and investing plan is the best way to prepare for your future financial needs. Every month, I save money for various future needs, including retirement. Find out why I treat my savings and retirement contributions like a bill.

It's easy to neglect savings

There were times in my life where I didn't prioritize saving. Sometimes I planned to save and forgot, and other times I decided to spend my extra money instead of saving it. Because of this, I didn't always have the money that I needed on hand. Whenever something unexpected happened, I often had to use a credit card.

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While credit cards can be a helpful financial tool, they come with risks and should be used carefully. If you don't pay the card balance in full, you'll be charged interest. Credit card interest can be expensive, and it adds up quickly. If you have an emergency fund established for unexpected costs, it makes life a lot easier and less stressful. That way, you'll have money on hand to pay for an unexpected expense rather than charging it to a credit card.

After neglecting my savings goals for some time, I knew that I needed to come up with a plan and force myself to save. I found a strategy that works for me, and now I worry about finances a lot less.

I treat my savings like a regular expense

I now treat my savings contributions like a regular expense. Every month, I have to pay for life expenses like my mortgage, electricity, cable and internet, and car insurance. I treat my savings and retirement contributions the same way.

I mark these bills on my calendar just like I do my other expenses. That way, I anticipate the cost coming up. I set up autonomic savings contributions so the money automatically comes out of my checking account. This way, I won't forget.

When it comes to saving for retirement, this is especially important for me as a freelancer. I don't have an employer-sponsored retirement account, and I need to make sure I'm planning for my future. This savings method is also helpful because I pay my self-employment taxes quarterly. With my automatic savings withdrawals, the money is there when I need it.

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Give this method a try

If you keep making excuses or find that you forget to save money, it may be time to try following a similar strategy. If you act like your savings contributions are a regular bill, it becomes something you must do instead of something you might do.

Contributing money bi-weekly or monthly is an excellent way to ensure you meet your savings goals. You can open a new savings account and automate your savings. Having a separate bank account can make it easier for you to avoid spending the money.

Planning for your retirement years is also essential. Whether there comes a time when you're no longer able to work or you choose not to, you want to make sure that you can continue to live comfortably without financial worry. If you're not yet saving for your retirement years and want to research options, here are some of the best IRA accounts.

Saving money doesn't have to be a chore. Treat your savings and retirement contributions like a bill and automate your savings so you have less to worry about each month. If you'd like to learn other ways to improve your financial situation, check out our personal finance resources.

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