Around my house, every week is a week to save. But for many people, saving money seems like a daunting task.
According to a 2014 survey conducted by America Saves and American Savings Education Council, only 4 out of 10 people have a spending plan that allows for sufficient saving. And only about 1/3 of those surveyed feel prepared for their long-term future.
It’s time to work on changing that. It’s America Saves Week.
America Saves Week is a great time for you to pledge to save. Studies have shown that people that make a plan for their money and stick to it, save twice as much money as those who don’t have a plan. If you’re looking to break that paycheck-to-paycheck cycle, you need to set a goal, make a plan, and make savings automatic.
Planning to Save
First, figure out what your goal will be. Is your goal to pay off debt? Establish an emergency fund? Save for college or retirement? Write down your goal. Be sure to be specific. You want to write down exactly how much you’ll save. You’ll want to make sure you set a deadline for this goal. Be realistic. If you’ve always struggled with saving, start small. It’s important for you to set attainable goals so that you can reach them and then build on your successes.
Make a plan to reach your goal. It’s not enough to say you want to do something. You have to make it happen! What expenses can you cut that will allow you to save some money? Can you find a way to make some extra money (i.e. getting a side job or selling some of your things)? Brainstorm ways you can find money to save and start doing those things. You can save money, even when you think you can’t.
Make savings automatic. One of the simplest ways to save is to make it as automatic as brushing your teeth or riding a bike. Have a portion of each paycheck put into a savings account or retirement account automatically each pay period. Every time you find a $5 bill in your wallet, put it in a jar and save it for that vacation you want to take. Automate your finances so that you avoid late fees. Once you’ve begun flexing those savings muscles, they get conditioned, and it gets easier to save.
Make the Pledge to Save
The folks at America Saves Week have put together some great information to help you learn how to save money. They’ve also got a great collection of stories from people who learned how to save. Plus, you can enter the #imsavingfor Photo Contest for a chance to win $500 to help you get started with your savings.
If you do nothing else, this week, I want you to assess your savings progress. It is a great first step to assessing your financial situation and can help you determine what areas you need to work on in order to become a better saver. Even if you already think you know everything about saving money, it is good to re-visit why you are saving and to tweak your goals.
Make the pledge to save this week and you’ll make a plan for a better future.