How to Put a Dent in Your Savings Goals Without Punishing Yourself
In 2018 I got really serious (finally) about savings. I kind of had a “let me guestimate how much money I’ve made since graduation versus how much I have saved” and was QUICKLY disappointed. That disappointment led to me to become a bit more aggressive with my savings.I was also going about saving the wrong way. Quickly transferring a large chunk of money from my checking to my savings each pay, only to dip right back in it or swipe my credit card when I didn’t leave enough cash in my checking to cover me. This isn’t conducive to having a healthy savings account and quickly leads to debt building up. I didn’t travel much this year to save money as well. This was definitely hard as I was invited on serval international trips and saw so many flight deals I would have otherwise taken advantage of.So if you’re like me and want to get serious about saving this year, whether for a specific purchase or just your rainy day fund,
here are some practical tips:
Unsubscribe From Marketing Emails
I realized I unnecessarily shopped when I’d be hit with a “Act now, 20% today only” email or a “Buy 2, get 1”. My mind instantly goes to “oooh that’s a deal, I’d save so much money.” instead of “hmm, I don’t really need anything from ___ right now so that $80 or so I just spent could’ve just been sitting in my savings.” So, unsubscribe from any marketing emails that you currently receive from stores you know you can’t resist. “But what if I miss out on coupons when I do need to go there?” You can find most of them with a quick online search and if none are available, you’re still saving money by NOT being tempted to shop there unnecessarily.
Decrease Unnecessary Expenses
Multiple music-streaming subscriptions? Both Netflix AND Hulu? Excessive public transportation use? These are just examples of expenses that may not always be necessary. Search through your current statements and see where you can cut costs. You may think it’s just $10-$20 a month, but that $10 a month can go a long way. Also, do you HAVE to Uber everywhere? Honestly? Truly?
Round-Up Store Savings
Whenever you use a coupon or are apart of a grocery store member program you’re saving money. This isn’t money that you’ve put aside, it’s simply money you would have spent at a normal price had you not used the coupon or member card. Usually, at the bottom of the receipt, you’ll see “You saved ___ this visit.” Whatever the amount is, round up to the nearest dollar and transfer it to your savings account. Even if it is a small amount, over time it adds up and makes a difference. So if the receipt says “You saved $5.48 this visit.” You would then transfer $6 to your savings account, or tip jar. Oh, speaking of..
Get a Tip Jar
You can either have a physical mason jar of change or dollars or there is an actual app called Tip Yourself. In my mason jar, I simply add any loose change I have from using cash (which isn’t often). But with my Tip Yourself app I have three jars:
I tip myself after each workout.
I tip myself whenever I’ve fulfilled my water drinking quota for the day.
I tip myself the amount that I’ve saved from a store visit.
The only downside with using the Tip Yourself app is not reaping the benefits of the interest on your money sitting. To alleviate this, set a transfer recurrence. Say, at the end of every month or two months or whatever, transfer the funds out of the app and into your savings account (NOT CHECKING).
Automatic Payroll Deposits
Make them small, but impactful. Small enough that you won’t miss a bill or meal, but big enough that it adds up well. This will probably require you to fill out another form with your job but it’s worth it. This can be a certain percentage of your check or a certain amount. When I first started that amount was $50, then $75, and now $100 each check. So if I don’t touch that money at the end of the year I’ll have $2,400 just stashed away in that account that I don’t see.Determine this amount based on your income. If $15 is all you can do, it’s a start. If you can do $200 without missing that, go for it.
A quick Google or Pinterest will result in a plethora of practical savings guide for any budget and any amount. They have monthly and yearly plans that will help you get to a certain savings goal within that time frame. Find one that is practical for you and go for it.Next year I’ll be doing a “Save $3,000 in one year” guide along with having my automatic deductions and tip jars. It is my goal to save AT LEAST $5,000 next year while simultaneously significantly reducing my debt.
This one actually does feel like punishment sometimes BUT, it’s not long term. Go a couple of weeks, or a month even without spending unnecessarily. You may limit your eating out to a certain amount or no eating out at all. Limit your shopping to necessities only or grant yourself a fixed amount. Whatever you choose to do, the ultimate goal is to not spend as much money as you would normally spend in that given time-frame and become more aware of areas where you may be spending excessively.I understand that everybody’s financial situations are different and not everyone has the same financial obligations, but if you’re like me and want to live a financially abundant life, it takes a bit of work and sacrifice.