Do you have something you’ve been wanting to do that you just can’t afford?
We all have those things we’d love to do that seem out of reach. A week at an all inclusive somewhere with sand and surf, a new laptop. Whatever. Today is the day you take control of your finances, and make a plan to achieve your saving goal. Here are a 5 painless ways to help you save your money.
Don’t spend it.
Nope, not kidding. This seems stupidly simple, but if you spend it you can’t save it. Before you shell out your cold hard cash, swipe your credit card, or click BUY NOW on that online shopping site, ask yourself the following two questions:
- Do I ABSOLUTELY NEED this?
- Do I ABSOLUTELY LOVE this?
If you can answer yes to one (or even better both) of these questions, then go for it. If not? Wait until you do find the perfect think that lets you answer yes to BOTH those questions. You’re less likely to ditch it, pitch it or regret your purchase. And that money you worked so hard to earn? Still yours.
Automate and forget about it.
The best way to stick to your goals is to use the power of laziness to your advantage. In these days of easy automation, set an automatic transfer from your main bank account to a subaccount labelled with your goal. For example, we have subaccounts for Mini-vacations, Big Holidays, Taxes etc. and they automatically get money transferred into them every month. Pick an amount that you know you can safely remove from your cash flow without putting stress on yourself, and set it up to transfer every month.
At first, start with small amounts. Maybe you put one $5 bill into a piggy bank, maybe it’s all the loonies and twoonies you get, maybe it’s a $20 per month auto deposit into a savings account. Whatever it is, do SOMETHING. And start today, not next week.
Set specific goals.
What are you saving for? Specifically. A trip to Europe? A new computer? New shoes? A saxophone? Trip to the zoo? Retirement? Doesn’t matter how big or small, but you do need to know exactly what your goal is. You need to be able to visualize that figure in your bank account to keep on working towards it. Figure out exactly how much you need to save by a certain date, and then set out a plan to reach that figure. For example, I know property taxes will cost $750 a year. So every month I need to transfer $62.50 into the sub account called property taxes.
Is there a month you know you get an extra pay check this year? Or maybe you know you’ve got a busy month at work and will be cutting back on entertainment/travel expenses. This is the perfect time to do a saving sprint. You can do this with lump sum transfers to a subaccount (maybe that whole extra cheque goes right in the bank). You can also do this with a weekly amount committed to savings. Maybe if you know you’re going to stay home the next 4 Friday nights, you can commit the $50-100 you might have spent on dinner and a movie out, or fancy cocktails, or a new top to wear to the bar to your savings account instead. That’ll get you closer to whatever your goal is.
The key to success here?
Focus on what you’re getting, not what you’re missing out on. And hey – if you need ideas of what to do on those Friday nights that won’t break the bank? I highly recommend board games, or a retreat day.