4 simple ways to save more for retirement

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You’re probably already saving for the next big chapter in your life—contributing to retirement accounts, building up your nest egg, and maybe even cutting down on your current spending. Those are all smart ways to save for retirement. But what else can you do to increase your retirement readiness?

Experts say you can try these four small, effective ways to save more:

  1. Increase your income. One of the best ways to accumulate extra money for retirement is to get side gigs whenever possible, says Elizabeth Lang, a personal finance expert and founder of WomensMoneyWeek.com. This doesn’t mean you need to take on a second job. Instead, consider doing some freelance or consulting work in your field, or ask for extra hours or projects at your current job.
  2. Reduce debt. The biggest source of net savings for most households is debt reduction, says Teresa Ghilarducci, author of How to Retire With Enough Money—and How to Know What Enough Is. Contributing to a dedicated retirement account is a very good way to save for retirement, but it will only get you partway there. “The most important way for most people to secure finances for the future is to reduce debt, including paying off the mortgage,” says Ghilarducci. That also means getting rid of high-interest credit cards and making a plan to pay down existing balances as quickly as possible. Once you’re debt free, you can use that extra cash to contribute more to your retirement accounts.  
  3. Sell what you don’t need. It’s amazing how much stuff you accumulate over the years, isn’t it? “If you can commit to selling some of your stuff twice a year, it can be a great way to increase your savings—and cut down on clutter,” says Lang. Skip the traditional yard sale, which gives you limited time to make sales and a small pool of potential buyers. Instead opt to sell online through Facebook, eBay, or Craigslist. 
  4. Use credit cards wisely. If you do a search of credit card benefits, you’re sure to find plenty of rewards programs. Many credit cards will give you cash back that can be deposited directly into a checking or savings account. Keep in mind, while these options can help you boost overall savings, they are only worth it if you don’t carry a balance and the yearly fees aren’t more than the cash-back bonus, says Lang.