To save for retirement in your 401(k) you have to have the money to invest. Think you’re short on funds because life is just too expensive to even get started? Think again! To help you realize your retirement goals, you’ll need to make sure you’re budgeting in at least 10-15% of your salary to invest in your 401(k). Here’s 4 budgeting tips that have helped me ensure I’m saving big in my 401(k).

  1. Select housing that’s no more than 35% of your net income. For me, this is one of the most important budgeting rules that I follow. I have always pivoted my budget around spending no more than 35% or less on housing. Living expenses can add up. Be as mindful as possible about how much of your net income (that is income after taxes) is going to housing. True, this may mean that you can’t live in the most up-to-date high rise, with the door man and the newest appliances. But you can find excellent deals out there. In my current apartment, I locked in an excellent off-season deal almost 2 years ago, and the location is excellent. True, I don’t have a dishwater or central AC, but I have more money in the bank!
  2. Check up regularly on your cable and internet bill. My advice is to make sure that you aren’t overspending on internet and cable features that you don’t need. I like to check up on my cable and internet bill to ensure I’m getting the best price possible and not overspending. If you are able to get a better deal, and forgo those channels you never watch, then get a better rate. Or even better, forgo cable all together and opt for a Roku or Apple TV. There’s no monthly fee to Roku or Apple TV, and instead you pay the subscription fees to your favorite streaming services (Netflix, Hulu), which cost about $8 to $12 a month.
  3. Take quality public transportation over Uber or Lyft. Chicago has an excellent system of public transportation. Each ride on the train, known in Chicago as the “L,” costs you $2.25. On the other hand, an Uber or Lyft for the same ride can cost you over 4x as more. To date in 2017, my average Uber/Lyft ride is $10.25, which I try to take sparingly. Take Uber/Lyft when you must, but if you have access to quality public transportation, then opt for the bus or the train.
  4. Sign up for your work’s gym (if available) and save big! My work offers a great deal on the gym we have in our office building. There’s no enrollment fee, and membership is $15/month. On the other hand, the going rate for gym membership in Chicago is pricey. At FFC alone in Chicago, the basic membership package includes a $395 enrollment fee plus $69.95/month, and when you get the premiere package, you have to shell out $475 for enrollment plus $149.95/month! Folks – there are big savings in signing up for your work gym if the price is right.

Follow The DIY Millionaire on Twitter @MatthewKMiller.

Stay tuned! To get this blog started, I’ll be taking inspiration from my upcoming book, From Millennial to Millionaire: DIY 401(k) – 5 Do-It-Yourself Steps for the Digital Generation to Design and Manage their 401(k), to write blog posts. My new book should be available in eBook and paperback on Amazon by summer 2017.