There’s a lot of advice floating around about saving money, but it’s easy to get caught in the same old New Year’s Resolution trap.
You sign up for a new program or app, fire up the engines, and then promptly run out of the energy and dedication you need to make it really work.
If you’ve tried complicated budgets, tracking every purchase in an app, managing multiple bank accounts, and you’ve even unsuccessfully committed to a year of absolutely no “unnecessary” expenses in the name of saving money, this post is for you.
It’s a lot simpler than they make it out to be
All of those complicated savings programs, apps, and online budgets have one thing in common: they probably exist to make money for someone.
That doesn’t mean they are bad, but the best answer is usually the simple one, and simple just doesn’t sell very well in most cases.
You don’t need complicated concepts, gadgets, or software to successfully and consistently put money into a savings account.
This tip is great for the control freaks among us. It’s hard to “set it and forget it” if you need to have your hands on your money at all times. That’s why automating savings works for people who over-manage their money.
If you’ve ever made a super-strict budget and then felt guilty for not following it, automation may be for you.
Most employers can help you set this up. You’ll need a separate bank account; a savings account will work fine.
Decide how much (a percentage) of each paycheck you’ll set aside. 10% is a wonderful place to start.
Now, let yourself off the hook. The other 90% of your paycheck is yours to spend on necessities and those lattes you’ve been feeling guilty about.
Give a bit of that money back to yourself
If you find it “unfun” to put money in a savings account, give yourself a present every time you do it.
For example, if you have $100 to save, but the idea of depositing that extra cash into your emergency fund account bores you to death, give yourself $20 of the total as a reward for depositing $80.
Saving money is hard. Be nice to yourself.
Many people consistently overspend, so it that’s you, don’t fret. One sure-fire way to keep your discretionary spending under control is to take that part of your budget out of your account in cash.
When the cash is gone, you are done spending money until the next paycheck.
Sound harsh? So are overdraft fees and eviction notices.
Pick a different bank
Consider setting your saving account up at a different bank from your everyday checking account so you won’t be tempted to make a transfer to cover an impulse purchase.
Ideally, you’ll choose an account with absolutely no fees. Don’t worry about a “high” interest rate. There’s no such thing in a savings account at this point. You need a no-frills and no-fees account that will safely store your money until you actually need it.
Go easy with the criticism
Budgets don’t work for everyone. In fact, they may not work for most of us. Unfortunately, many of us pile on negative self-talk when we can’t stick to the holy grail of money management standards.
Keep it simple, keep it automatic, and keep it kind.
Beating yourself up is not going to motivate you to like saving money.
Make more money
If the simplest savings tactics just aren’t working, you may need to consider the possibility that you aren’t making enough money.
If that’s the case, finding a different job, moving to a less expensive town, or just getting a side gig are all viable solutions.
Sometimes, just making a bit of money here and there on the side can really ease the tension between paydays.
No matter which money-saving tactics you choose, remember that most people aren’t great a saving money. If you get to the point where you are saving 10% of your paycheck consistently and are able to cover small emergencies without using credit, you’ve reached Rockstar status. There’s nowhere to go from there but up.