Start putting your money where you really want it (and need it!) with these 4 Ways to Motivate You to Save More Money.
4 Ways to Motivate You to Save More Money
Let's face it. For the average American, saving money is hard. The economy is still down, prices and cost of living are still increasing, but your savings account seems to be stagnant, or even worse, dwindling. (I won't be talking about debt here, but if you find yourself in debt I highly recommend checking out Dave Ramsey's book. He has some pretty ingenious financial ideas and great plans and worksheets. You can find the book here.)
Just to be clear, I am NOT a financial expert, nor am I claiming to be. What I AM is the average American who, until I got into the right mindset, was struggling right alongside you to put money in savings.
4 Ways to Motivate You to Save More Money
1. Set Goals - I'm sure you've heard all the basics of savings: emergency funds, 3-6 months worth of living, retirement savings and 401k's, college savings,.... So I'll spare you the "responsibility sermon." Of course, all of those savings funds are important, but they're not very motivational. What if you never really need those emergency funds? And retirement is years away.
The trick to setting your goals is to be specific. What do you really WANT to do in your life that you need savings for? Do you want to retire and move to a tropical island? Do you want to build your dream home? Think specifically about your goals and then do a little research to find out how much those things cost. When you have a very specific plan for the money you're putting aside and it's something you're actually excited about doing, not just feeling obligated toward, it becomes easier. Exciting even! Every dollar you put away is a step closer to your dream!
Your short-term and long-term monetary needs and goals may not always coincide, and that's okay. Short-term goals keep you motivated to put money in that account, even when your long-term goals feel out of reach. So if you really want that $1,000 flat-screen, tell yourself you can buy it as soon as you get $2,000 more in savings. Anything to keep the momentum going.
2. Save Little and Often - Instead of making large lump-sum goals, stick to smaller amounts more often. A goal like $500 per month when you're strapped for cash in the first place and living paycheck-to-paycheck, sounds totally unattainable, leading you to hang your head and give up. Don't! Stick to small goals, like $20 per paycheck. Save your change, and when you cash it in every few months, put it in savings. When you're meeting these small goals, you'll feel successful, which will motivate you to keep going! And watching your savings go up will inspire you to do more to get that number even higher! Which leads me to my next point:
3. Keep a Savings Log - It doesn't have to be complicated. Just grab a sheet of paper, write the date and your starting amount, even if it's $0. Then, every time you save more, write it down on that same sheet. This way you'll always know where you're at and how far you've come. And watch out! The more you see the balance rising, the more you'll want to add to it! It's addictive!
4. Save Your Savings - If you're trying to save money, you're probably also trying to live frugally. Reward your savings account when you make a good financial decision! For example, if you really want to eat out but you wisely choose to eat in instead, put the money you would have spent in savings. This will really show you how much money you sometimes waste on things that are not needs. You can use this for smaller things too. Put that $1 you just saved from a coupon for something you would've bought anyway aside for savings. Every penny counts, and it all adds up!
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