Nobody likes talking about money. From avoiding checking your statements to mourning not having enough savings, there’s something about a cash flow that often leads to feelings of overwhelm. Whether you have a few dollars or a few hundred, it always gifts greater peace of mind knowing you have funds to fall back on. If you have a struggling relationship with keeping your savings account in the green, these tips could be just what you need to get a stable foundation beneath your feet…
Saving is Not a Sprint
Changing our mindset about how we deal with money is the first step when it comes to saving and nurturing a healthier relationship with your bank account. There’s an old saying that saving is not a sprint but a marathon; it takes time and perseverance and long-term commitment.
Start with Ten Percent
Googling how much money should I have saved is only going to throw up generic numbers that will make you sink into a pit of despair. How much money you can save is a completely relative personal experience. A good rule of thumb that can help you to aim for a good starting point is to try and save percent of your income. If you can successfully stash away ten percent of your current annual salary then this is a great start to your savings journey and as your job or salary progresses, you can bump up that number.
Get a Separate Account
Learning to save successfully is less about discipline and more about playing the right mind tricks on yourself. One of the best methods to start saving is to open a separate account. Having two bank accounts means that you can shift money from one to the other, using one to squirrel away funds and the other as your everyday account. When you move money into the new account, you are aiming fro an out of sight out of mind approach. By physically separating your money, you learn to mentally separate it too and hopefully can get to the point where you don’t even factor your savings into the amount of money you have.
Automate Your Savings
Another good trick of the savings trade is to learn to automate your savings. Set up a direct debit between accounts so that as soon as payday hits, a sum of money gets instantly moved over into savings. New online bank accounts like Monzo also have a system where when you pay for things with your card it will round up the amount to the nearest dollar and stash the change away in a savings pot. It’s these small automated services that make saving a simpler process.
Categorize and Cut
Everyone will tell you that learning to cut back on your spending habits will help you save money – and it's true. Learning to categorize your spending and make cuts is less about carving out big holes and more about trimming the fat. Get out your stack of bank statements and look where you are spending the most. Make a list; grocery shopping, eating out, bills, and fun frivolous purchases. Now see where you can make cuts. This doesn’t always have to be about cutting out the fun stuff, spending on things that bring you great joy is an investment. Instead, get creative. Instead of buying a ton of books – join your local library, rather than eating out with friends every week have a pot-luck dinner date, make coffee at home instead of buying a latte en-route to work. Remember, saving is a tool that we learn how to use, so don’t cut out all the pleasures in your life and try not to get too caught up in where other people are on the financial chart.
What tips do you have for piecing together a savings plan that works for you? Share in the comments.