Unfortunately, the No. 1 obstacle to saving money — a high cost of living — is hard to overcome, unless you move somewhere cheaper.
But what if moving is not an option for you? Fortunately, there are other things you can do that might make it easier to save money.
1. Focus on earning more
Making more money might make it easier to cover your costs and have enough left over to save. See if your employer offers any training or education-reimbursement programs you can take advantage of to improve your skills and get a raise or promotion.
In addition, look into ways to make more money, such as getting a side gig or second job. Then, put your extra earnings into savings.
2. Stick to a budget
Of course, higher wages might help many Americans cope with a high cost of living and possibly have more money to save. But a big income isn't always what's needed to be a better saver. For some, a lack of savings could be the result of not budgeting and living beyond their means. In fact, a survey conducted for the National Foundation for Credit Counseling found that 60 percent of adults don't have a budget and keep close track of their spending.
Using a budget to track your cash flow can help you pinpoint unnecessary expenses you can reduce or eliminate to free up more cash to save. Add up those costs you can cut, and then have that amount automatically transferred to a savings account or retirement account as soon as you get paid — before you have a chance to spend that money.
3. Make saving a priority
Although Americans contend that a high cost of living and low wages make it difficult to save, a bigger obstacle might be their mindset. Another GOBankingRates retirement survey found that among people who have no retirement savings, 40 percent said saving for retirement isn't a priority.
Pay yourself first by making contributions to a retirement plan automatic. If you're not already participating in a workplace retirement plan, sign up to have contributions automatically deducted from your paycheck.
If you don't have access to a 401(k) at work, you can save for retirement on your own by opening an IRA, Roth IRA, SEP or solo 401(k) through an investment firm such as Fidelity or Vanguard.
You might have to live on a little less to save now, but that's better than having $0 in savings for retirement.
Methodology: This survey was conducted as a Google Consumer Survey and collected responses from 5,036 people. The findings are representative of the U.S. online population with a margin of error of 4.7 percent. The survey posed the question, "Of the following, what is the main obstacle that prevents you from saving more money?" with the option to select: (1) High cost of living (rent, food, utilities), (2) Low salary, (3) Debt, (4) No budget, (5) Non-essential costs (eating out, luxuries), (6) No savings account, (7) None and (8) Other. For the analysis of this survey, respondents who selected "None" and "Other" were excluded.
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This article originally appeared on GOBankingRates.