We all know how important it is to save money, but how do you become a successful saver? Now that we’re a family of three, saving for the future, as well as any unexpected events or emergencies, is more important to me than ever! Sometimes it takes a bit of trial-and-error to figure out how saving fits into your budget, but it’s definitely something that needs to be accounted for, no matter how much or how little you’re able to contribute – just contribute something! These are a few rules I’ve followed over the past few years to become a better saver, and I’ve seen my savings account grow more than ever because of them. Check them out and see if you can apply them to your own saving style.
1. Make your goals a priority. Instead of saving what’s left over after you pay your monthly bills and/or make a few extra purchases, treat your savings account as its own bill of sorts. If you “pay yourself” first, you’ll steadily contribute to your savings AND THEN know how much you have left to work with for more frivolous or “fun” spending. Transfer it out of your checking account so you’re not tempted to spend it.
2. Separate your accounts. If your checking and savings accounts are directly linked, you might be tempted to make a withdrawal when it’s not really necessary. Consider having a separate account that automatically takes a set amount directly out of your paycheck. If it’s not easily accessible, you’ll be less likely to pull from it, and you’ll grow your savings faster.
3. Be consistent. Based on your budget, decide on a feasible amount that you’ll save every month, and hold yourself to it! If you only save when you can, you’ll always find excuses to not put the money away (which I was totally guilty of) and you’ll never get any closer to your savings goals.
4. Save for what you need. While it’s a great idea to have an emergency fund, don’t forget about your other savings goals – maybe a house, maybe a trip, maybe something short-term or maybe something down the road. Divide up your savings to monitor your progress towards each goal so you’re aware of where you stand.
5. Be smart about debt repayment. While it’s important to save money, it’s just as important to be debt-free. Don’t over-save at the expense of any outstanding loans. Instead of contributing the majority of your money to your savings, find a good balance between creating an emergency fund for yourself and paying down any money that you owe, which accrues interest over time.
How do you save smarter? How does it impact your budget?