7 Helpful Tips to Make Saving Money Easier
Saving money is like eating healthy. We all know it’s good for us, but many of us just don’t do it. And, if you aren’t already used to doing it, you will find it difficult to start because you’re so used to your unhealthy routine. Below are 7 tips to make the habit of saving money an easier one to develop.
1. Focus on a specific goal.
The world is full of distractions and, when it comes to spending money, those distractions can be very costly. If you have a set savings goal, though, you can focus on that goal when faced with the distraction of unnecessary spending. But don’t just say you’re going to save money to buy a car one day or go on vacation one day. Be specific about the model of car you want and exactly where you want to go on your vacation. If you put more effort into setting your financial goal, it forces you to put more effort into actually working to save for that goal.
BONUS: Achieving your goal can be easier to focus on if you can physically see it every day. Print out a picture of what your savings goal looks like to you, whether it be your dream home or a cruise ship, and tape it to your mirror, post it on your fridge, or make it the wallpaper on your cell phone. Every day, you will be reminded of what you are working hard to accomplish, and maybe even encouraged to save more.
2. Keep track of your spending.
It’s hard to plan for a better financial future if you don’t know where your finances stand today. That’s why budgets are great. They allow you to examine where your money is and where it is going every month. Then you are able to organize your finances and determine where you should make any changes in your spending habits. If you’re tech-savvy, you can find plenty of apps that let you do this from your phone. The Bank of New Glarus & Sugar River Bank Branches even offers “Ca$hTrack”, a Personal Financial Management tool, to all online banking customer that you can access through our website and mobile app.
BONUS: Be sure to include a Savings category into the budget and treat it like an important bill that HAS TO be paid on time every month because it is important to you.
3. Save automatically.
There is no doubt that saving money is hard work. It doesn’t always have to be, though. There are some steps that you can take to automate your saving so that you don’t have to do the work. If you get paid via Direct Deposit, then there is a good chance that you can have a set amount or percentage of your paycheck go into a savings account while the rest go into your checking account. Speak to your Payroll Administrator and find out. Another option is to set up an Automated Funds Transfer (ATF) to automatically transfer a set amount of money from your checking account into your savings account every month. Speak to your Personal Banker for more information on setting up an ATF.
BONUS: If you’re using split deposit to save automatically, you may even be able to split your savings yet again so that a portion goes into a short-term savings account used only for holiday spending each year while another portion goes into a different savings account dedicated to your long-term goal, like saving to buy your first home.
4. Get your family and friends involved.
Peer pressure is a big part of frivolous spending. Sometimes we buy things we don’t need to keep up with the Jones’ and we sometimes spend money going places where everyone else is for fear of missing out. If your close friends and family knew that you were working hard to save for your financial goal, they would be very likely that they’d be willing to help out. No, that doesn’t mean that they will just give you the money you’re trying to save. They would be encouraging and understanding when you decide not to join everyone for dinner at that expensive restaurant and may even offer a more price-conscious alternative to involve everyone. In terms of immediate family, it also helps even more to set an example for your children. If they knew that the ultimate prize for passing up on the latest toy was the ultimate family vacation to Walt Disney World, they’d be happy for sure.
BONUS: It’s never too soon to open a savings account for your child. We offer a Kids Club Savings Account that lets children get into the habit of coming in and depositing their hard-earned cash. After 10 deposits, they can even pick a prize from our Treasure Chest.
5. Every penny counts.
Have you ever found yourself cleaning out your junk drawer to find a lone lost penny and have (GASP!) thrown it away because you found no value in that one dirty penny? Remember, every penny is one small step closer to your financial goal. Make sure that you have a piggy bank, dish, or jar where you can put all of the loose change (not just pennies) you find throughout the house, car, or pants pockets. When it’s full, you might be inclined to spend it, but bring it into the bank and deposit it right into your savings account. Remember, a penny is the difference between a person with $999,999.99 in their account and a millionaire.
BONUS: After you’ve mastered the art of saving pennies, try single dollar bills. When you get home at the end of the day, take any single dollar bills you have and also put them in the same jar where your loose change goes.
6. Ask someone who knows what they’re doing.
We’d all like to think that we know everything and don’t need any help. When it comes to the subject of money, we sometimes struggle in silence as we try and figure out how to reach our goals on our own. If you’re reading this, then you’re taking the first step towards getting the help that you need. If you’d like to take it a step further, speak with your personal banker and say, plain and simple, “I’m trying to save for (Fill in the Blank). Can you help me?” You will not have been the first person to do so and you will not be the last, so start the conversation and you will feel better in the end and walk away with some great information to help you on the right track to meeting your financial goal.
BONUS: If you’re interested in retirement planning, you can take this a step further and speak with a personal financial advisor. BNG Investment Services is an Independent Community financial firm that specializes in Retirement Planning and IRA’s.
7. Don’t be so “Extra”.
I once asked a wealthy man for one piece of advice on the key to achieving financial prosperity and his response was “Don’t order cheese on your hamburgers.” It was simple, yet genius. Eliminating the non-essentials in life are a great way to save money. Now, for you, it doesn’t have to be eliminating tasty cheeseburgers from your life, but it could be something else, like premium cable television. Do you REALLY watch all those channels that you’re paying every month for? I think not. With a digital antenna, you can get the basic channels over-the-air at no additional cost each month. Your local library may even offer the option of borrowing popular movies with just your library card. All for the cost of $0.00. Just be sure to return the DVDs on time.
BONUS: It’s nice to splurge every now and then, so feel free to spend money on “extra” when you feel like you’ve earned it and deserve that reward. Just don’t make “extra” a regular routine, because when something is routine it doesn’t feel like a reward anymore.
Well, there you have it. These tips are very helpful and I hope that you find great use of them. There is one last bonus tip I will leave you with, though, and it’s the most important of them all:
8. Start Today.
It’s too late to think about how much you would already have saved if only you had begun a year ago. Instead, think about how awesome the feeling will be next year, after you’ve begun your saving today. So use any or all of the above tips to help get you started on your way to reaching your financial goal. You’ll be thankful that you did.