It seems that every year, the most popular New Year’s resolution is to “Save More Money” or “Open a Savings Account”. And the reason it’s so popular is because it’s right after Christmas when we’ve spent whatever savings we did have. However, the fact that we have tons of credit cards and layaway plans to pay down makes it a bit difficult to get it started. So, let’s take a look at this brief overview of tips on saving money and how you can keep it there.
Create a Goal
It’s advised everywhere that the first thing you should do to start saving money is to create a budget. NO! It’s to create a goal. Now, let me tell you why. The primary goal of your budget is to say, “This is how much money I have allocated to bill ABC.” So hooray for you! You’ve managed to pay each of your creditors the minimal monthly payment. Um, hello, this is expected. So, your result is:
- You’re still in debt
- You still have no savings
- An emergency happens that lands you further in debt
Now, had you created a goal, possibly “I want to have $150 in my savings account by the end of the year”. This means you’d have to pay yourself $50 each month from October through December, or all at once. Then, just pretend you never see that money. So if you have to cut out a coffee trip or driving every weekend to the other end of town for a sale, that’s what you’d have to do. Here’s a tip, the rich get richer because they pay themselves first!
Now, after you have created your goal, it’s time to create a budget. Your budget in simple terms is:
Income – Expenses = Left over money
However, in our economy, it looks more like this:
Expenses – Income = What money?
If you are fortunate enough to be in the first category, add yourself as a creditor and place this money to the side. If you’re not in this category, still add yourself as a creditor, and just place even $2 aside per month. Trust me, one day you’ll be glad you did.
Join a Challenge
Now, you may be one of those people that can save money this week and not save it next week. Well, you need to put yourself out there and join a challenge!
I joined a challenge this past December, and it’s worked well for me. The reason challenges work for many is because they are announcing to friends and strangers that they will accomplish something. Now, do you like to admit failure? Of course not, so you’re more likely to stick to your challenge.
There are savings challenge groups on Facebook, Twitter, and you can start one with your friends. So get on board with a:
- 52-week challenge
- The spare change challenge
- The automatic transfer challenge
- The no spend challenge
Saving Money at Home vs. an Account
Once you’ve decided the challenge you’ll participate in, you’ll need to decide where you want to save this money. It’s really a personal preference. Me, I try not to keep cash on me at all. It’s just so easy to spend. If this is how you are, my advice is to get a free online checking or savings account. My next piece of advice to you:
- Do not request a checkbook!
- Do not request a bank card!
- Do not look up their closest location!
This helps you keep the money where it is!
Next week, I’ll get into easy ways you can save money. Be sure to check it out!
~ Independent, Smart, Diva!