There are so many great habits to develop as part of one’s lifestyle. One such a great habit is setting money aside as savings. Saving money should be something everyone is excited about, a way of life, and not some kind of burden.
Everyone wants to have some money saved up to take care of certain expenses when they arise. However, people sometimes lack enough motivation to keep putting money aside, so it’s no surprise they’re constantly wondering where did their money go.
So many believe it’s challenging to motivate oneself to save. Nonetheless, it’s not that big of a task.
Some people make excuses that they do not have extra cash to put one side in a month, procrastinate to start saving money at a future date, and don’t ever start.
However, you need to be seriously motivated to make it work.
Motivation comes in waves; there are both high and low moments. One moment, it’s there, you are all excited and determined to start your savings journey and reach your financial goal.
The next, the fire’s gone, and you can’t seem to get back the spark.
If you rely on that initial spark of motivation alone to achieve your savings goals, you might not go very far.
It is essential to have a system in place to fuel that fire and keep you steadily working towards that goal.
Here’s how to start saving and also sustain your saving habit.
1. Decide What You Want to Save For And Why
It’s not enough to just decide to put money away. You can quickly lose interest and even spend the money at some point.
You need to know why you are saving in the first place.
Set a target, an achievable goal, and understand why you need to achieve that goal.
For instance, you may want to start saving money for your sinking fund, or you want to start saving for a down payment on a house.
Depending on the amount you can put into savings each month, this savings goal can take a while.
After a few months or even years, you might start feeling disconnected with the idea.
It’s essential to consistently remind yourself why you are setting money aside. It could be that you need an extra room for baby on the way, or you just need to relocate to somewhere else.
Setting a realistic and achievable goal gives you something to work towards.
2. Set Short-Term Goals
It can be hard to stay motivated when saving for goals that take a while, just like that down payment, which can take several months or years depending on how much you can save each month.
To keep yourself motivated over such a long time, you need to set short-term milestones.
Decide what you want to achieve in a week or a month towards the big savings goal and track your progress at the end of the week or month.
Working towards meeting those short-term objectives keeps you working steadily to achieve the big dream.
3. Set Rewards For Each Milestone
An exciting way to motivate yourself to keep saving towards a long-term goal is to reward yourself for achieving short-term objectives.
These rewards should be something you might not do routinely, something fun, something you can always look forward to, but it should be small, and within budget, so you don’t blow all your savings while trying to reward yourself.
For instance, you can decide to go for a picnic in the park or eat at a nice restaurant.
4. Visualize Your Goal
Create a mental picture of your goal. You actually need to sit down and spend some real time doing this.
For instance, the goal of making a down payment on a house, think about what the house would look like, the location, number of bedrooms, the children’s playroom, if there should be a garden in front, and any other thing you’d like to have in the house.
Visualizing your goal would give you a strong urge to keep working towards it. If you are unable to create a perfect mental picture, consider printing out a picture to represent it.
You get to look at it every day to keep yourself motivated.
You can even keep the picture in your wallet, especially if you are a spend freak. You get to look at it each time you want to spend money to decide if it’s really worth it.
5. Cut Down On Big Expenses Instead Of The Small Stuff
Focusing so much on penny-pinching and always denying yourself the little treats you enjoy can bring you to hate saving.
While you can cut back on some of the little expenses that add up eventually, denying yourself the chance to get that delicious bagel you love so much for $2 can make you start feeling like saving is a burden.
Consider forgoing the big TV to save yourself $700 to $2,000 and still get good entertainment from the internet or on your current TV.
6. Tell Your Friends and Family Members About Your Goal
One compelling motivator is the shame factor. If you don’t like failing, then this would work well for you.
Tell your friends or family members that you have something brewing. Ask them to check in on you from time to time, which serves as encouragement.
When you think of how you’d have to explain your failure to everyone, you might want to sit up.
7. Take Up Saving Challenges With Friends Or Family Members
Saving partners work pretty well in motivating people to save. Find out if your friends or any of your relatives would like to try saving money for a particular goal.
If they are in for it, you can be partners.
You can take up challenges, try to find out who can save the most, you can even set rewards for the winner of the saving challenge, or the winner could just get bragging rights.
Either way, it’s a fun and exciting way to save.
8. Get A High-Interest Account
Traditional savings accounts offer less than 1% interest on savings, and this is one depressing factor when it comes to saving.
Looking for a high yield account can increase your satisfaction with saving since, though the yields are still generally low, it’s still better than what the traditional savings account offers.
Alternatively, you can check out money market accounts and funds, high yield CDs, and bonds.
However, there are certain risks associated with these options, so make sure you get enough information about the option you choose before taking it.
9. Automate Transfers To Your Savings Account
Moving your funds around automatically is a helpful way to ensure consistency with your savings.
You can ask your bank to automatically transfer a certain amount of money from your bank account to your savings account each month.
It is an easy way to help you adjust and get into the habit of saving.
10. Read Other People’s Stories
Increase your motivation by checking out personal finance blogs to read other people’s real-time stories.
Understanding how other people were able to achieve major goals will leave you feeling like “I want to achieve that too.”
You’ll learn that it is possible to do things in so many ways from other people’s experiences.
After achieving your initial goal, you can decide to start saving money for another goal so as to keep the saving habit alive.
You can choose to save for a vacation, your child’s college funds, or any other future expense.
Saving money for the future is very important; however, you need to keep yourself working steadily towards the big picture with these motivators.
It will help you ride the waves of motivation – the high and the low tide moments – to achieve your financial goal.
Bonus Tips To Help You Save More Money
While trying to cut costs and save more, it’s not best to penny pinch so much on the little stuff.
There are several unnecessary expenses you might want to consider cutting down or cutting out completely.
1. Impulse Purchases
Before you go shopping, make a list of the items you need, and try to stick to the list while you at it.
Avoid throwing in extra items into your shopping cart probably because the deal looks good, or you suddenly felt like you could use the product.
Sometimes, people end up buying items on impulse that they don’t ever get to use, and that’s like throwing money away.
Make sure to buy only the items you have on the list the next time you go shopping.
2. Trashing Food
One way to keep throwing money in the trash is by trashing food. Think about all the food you’ve wasted; it can add up to a lot of money.
Create a monthly meal planner to ensure you only buy what you need and always check your pantry and refrigerator to keep track of the expiry date of the items you have at home.
Certain habits burn holes in your pocket, such as gambling, drinking, smoking, drinking, or even shopping.
Think about all the money you spend on these habits every month and decide if it’s worth it.
You can find other hobbies that do not require spending like reading or cooking to fill the room for those habits.
4. Everything Brand Name
Insisting on buying only the brand name of everything can cost you so much. Try purchasing generic products instead.
You’ll realize that the generic products are also as good as the brand names, just without the expensive packaging and marketing.
5. Eating Out
Food-related expenses amount to a lot of money every month. It’s very easy to overspend on food because you always have to eat.
Consider eating at home more, especially if you have a growing family.
With budget meal planning you can make meals healthy enough for you and your family for less than what you spend on eating out.
6. Disposable Products
The cost of buying paper towels, disposable water bottles, diapers, and paper plates for convenience’s sake over and over can really add up.
Consider leaving out the paper towels and buying reusable water bottles, dishwasher safe plates, and cloth diapers instead.
If you don’t have to keep up appearance at work every day, maybe you shouldn’t spend so much on clothes.
Consider dressing more casually and save on clothes.
If you have little kids, you can consider buying pre-owned items for them since children grow up quickly and outgrow their clothes so fast.
8. Avoidable Fees
The late payment interest you pay on loans is just you making the banks richer.
Try to pay off debts as fast as possible to avoid the interests you have to pay cumulatively.
9. Convenience Foods
You lose money through the extra charges you pay for convenience food instead of preparing them from scratch.
Convenience products can cost you twice the amount you would have spent if you put in some time to peel and chop your fruits and vegetables yourself.
10. High Service Payment
So many services today are quite negotiable, even more than you know.
Look around for better deals and negotiate on your electricity rates, cell phone provider, credit card interest rate, cable, and insurance.
You don’t need to hire a professional to handle all your repairs. There are some basic repairs you can handle on your own in the house.
For instance, it’s pretty easy to fix a broken toilet lever. You can save money this way.
12. Neglecting Basic Skills
Some skills come in handy at home. Learning to do your own manicure and pedicure, cut your son’s hair, or dye your hair can save you some money.
These skills aren’t difficult to learn; you only need to watch a couple of tutorials to get the hang of it.
An excellent way to achieve your financial goals is to apply the money-saving tips discussed here.
When combined with the saving money motivators, you’ll be on your way to bringing your financial dreams to reality.
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