When you’re limping from paycheck to paycheck, saving money can seem like a daunting task.
But it doesn’t have to be that hard, when you start small and think big.
How to Start a Savings Habit
Saving money is a lot like running a marathon. You have to train yourself to do it. You can’t just leap off the couch and run 26.2k. And you can’t save a couple of bucks today and then expect it to blossom into hundreds of dollars tomorrow.
You’ve got to learn to foster the right attitude when it comes to saving money and to continuously use those saving muscles. You’ve got to condition yourself to create a positive change.
It all starts with attitude.
You will never be able to save money if you wallow in self pity and allow jealousy to eat at you. You’ve got to believe in yourself and accept responsibility for how you spend your money. If you want to cross the finish line, you’ve got to want it. The same holds true for creating a savings habit. Just remember that a savings habit is your ticket to financial freedom.
Set a goal.
It’s much easier to save money when you have a specific goal in mind. Perhaps you want to build your emergency fund or save for a family vacation. Maybe you want a new car or an iPad. Establishing a goal will help you focus your energy on savings. For more inspiration, share your savings goals with friends and family or post photos of what you’re saving for where you’ll see them every day. Little visual reminders or gentle nudging from a friend can do wonders for helping you reach your savings goals.
Before you can run a marathon, you’ve got to be able to walk. So keep that in mind as you start saving money. Every little bit of money that you can save is helping you condition those saving muscles so you can build your wealth. Your day is filled with money saving opportunities. From packing a lunch for work to couponing, there are plenty of ways you can start saving.
Make it automatic.
One of the simplest ways to develop the savings habit is to pay yourself first. What does that mean? It means that whenever you come into money – whether it is a paycheck or a windfall – put some of it into a savings account before you do anything else.
Set up accounts to have a portion of your paycheck automatically deposited into savings or a retirement fund. Ideally, you should be setting aside 10 to 20 percent of your income into savings, but just remember that every little bit counts, so put away as much as you can. Direct deposits allow you to save money without even thinking about it, and because it’s already tucked away, you will be much less tempted to spend that money on unnecessary expenditures.
Save with a friend.
Surrounding yourself with other savers makes it easier for you to save money. You’ll be able to share experiences and frugal living ideas to help you reach your goals, and you won’t be tempted to spend money frivolously. You’ll also have a support system to turn to when you’re feeling discouraged or dealing with a setback.
Celebrate your successes.
Once you’re in the habit of developing savings habits, don’t forget to celebrate your successes. Take a trip down memory lane and see how much your savings has grown or make a list of things you’ve been able to purchase with the cash you saved. When you reach a savings goal, consider treating yourself to something small (like a new shirt or lunch with a friend). If you don’t celebrate those successes, it makes it harder to accomplish your goals and makes you more likely to go back to your spendthrift ways.
Keep on keepin’ on.
Learning to save money is hard, so start small, think big, and work on it every day. You’ll make that savings habit one that will be nearly impossible to break before you know it.