One of the hardest things in a person’s financial journey is saving. We are a nation that lives in the now and saving for something more than 6 months away can be difficult. Heck, most of my financial regrets have to do with not saving enough money. All I can say is that it’s just hard and sometimes you just feel like the kid in the picture below.
That got me thinking about some ways to help motivate myself to save. Just like any other goals, if you do not think about saving constantly and strive to do it, you just won’t save.
1. Visualize the Prize
One of the easiest ways to save for a particular goal is to include visual reminders of that goal around your house.
Want to retire to a remote island at the age of 55? Place some pictures of exotic beaches on your refrigerator or bathroom mirror. The picture will stick out like a sore thumb and constantly remind you of what you are saving for. This tactic can work for almost any of your financial goals including cars, homes, college education, bags full of cash, etc.
2. Write Your Savings Goals Down
I wrote a post last week that gave a step-by-step guide to creating a financial mission statement. I think this is a very important step in taking responsibility for your family and finances. Sitting down with every member of your household and explaining your financial goals will get everyone on the same page. With everyone on board with the financial mission of the family, things will run a little smoother.
3. Save the Savings
This is something that I picked up over at MoneyNing. One of his readers saved his money every time he had the urge to spend. For example, if his urge was to eat out, he would eat in and then save the money he would have spent eating out in a jar. After a few weeks, it amounted to quite a large amount. It really let’s you know how much money you sometimes waste on things that are not needs. Give it a shot and you may be surprised at how much you can save by altering a few things in your financial life.
4. Automate Your Savings
This is a big tip that Ramit at I Will Teach You To Be Rich (a great author for twenty-somethings) talks about a lot. Obviously, if you do not see a certain amount of money in your account, you will not be yearning to spend it. That is how automatic saving works. You set up different accounts and have the money automatically deducted from your paycheck or checking account. Since it is done for you, you do not even have to think about it. You should do this with your 401(k), IRA, emergency fund, vacation fund, etc. If you have everything set up to automatically go where it needs to, it also eliminates the “I forgot” syndrome.
5. Keep on Learning
You are already on the right path by reading this blog and many other blogs on personal finance. Continue to educate yourself about the many different areas of personal finance and it will make saving so much easier. Whether you want to learn about frugal living or starting a budget, there is something out there for you to read and learn. You just have to go out there and do it.
Believe me, I know it’s hard to save. But if you put your mind to it and focus on the final destination, it will make attaining your savings goals that much easier.
Does anyone have any additional techniques that they personally use?