Saving is a crucial part of the journey to achieving financial freedom. We all wish we could save more and maybe we could have a brighter, financially secure future to look forward to. But saving doesn’t come naturally to most of us. Here a few ways to trick yourself into saving and hopefully, grow into the habit.
1. Save Automatically
Saving automatically is the oldest and most effective way to get into the habit of saving.
Saving can be such a hassle. It’s just so much easier to overspend then afterwards you realise you don’t have enough to last you through the month, never mind saving! Most people go through this routine every month. No surprise there.
Sometimes the hassle of deciding how much to put aside every month is enough to put you off the habit altogether. However, with automatic savings, the whole process is made so much simpler.
Automatic saving makes it easier even for the most complacent person to grow their savings consistently throughout the year. Saving automatically means that you do the initial set up and from then on, your savings keep on growing without the least bit of effort on your part.
You can choose a date or time frame at which money will be withdrawn from your account and into your savings i.e. either bi-weekly or monthly.
Another option to save automatically would be to ask your employer to directly deposit a certain amount of your salary into your savings account or retirement package.
The best part of automatic saving is the money will be withdrawn automatically so it’s never at your mercy. Saving becomes a consistent priority and the funds in your account keep growing by default.
2. Hide your savings account
Out of sight. Out of mind. This is the simplest way to regain control over your money. The urge to dip into your savings is less strong when you’re not seeing the money. Moreover, the accumulating numbers won’t be deceiving you into believing you have too much money.
This way, you protect your savings from yourself, because sometimes you are the biggest obstacle in your own journey to achieve financial freedom.
Separate your checking account from your savings account. Moreover, opt for an online banking and paper-free statements.
One of the main flaws of human nature is lack of self-control but a separate account will keep you in check.
Add as many hurdles as possible between you and your money. Communicate with your bank and make accessing your savings as hard as it could get. This will make you reflect on the importance of the expense or purchase before spending your savings on it.
3. Lock up your funds
This is especially great for long time savings. Get a certificate of deposit(CD) from your bank of choice and watch your savings grow.
The good part of this is that you have no option but to exercise self-discipline by leaving your money untouched as the other alternative is too expensive.
Withdrawing from a CD comes with a very stiff penalty for premature withdrawals and those absurd penalties will curb impulse buying in it’s tracks.
Not only does locking away your money safeguard it but it also maximizes the interests as these type of savings accounts offer higher interest rates.
4. Name your savings
This one takes the drag out of saving and adds some fun into it. If you can name your teddy, your horse and a dozen other things that matter to you, then you might as well name your savings too.
Every time you take a look at your savings account or add money to it then you are reminded of the purpose for which you are saving.
Saving becomes less of a logical habit but when it has a name, that resonates with your feelings then emotional logic plays a part in keeping you motivated towards the goal. Naming your savings puts the “personal “ to personal finance.
5. Divert your savings
Every time you cut down an expense or save money on something, don’t add the money to other things but rather add them to your savings.
Add the money that was initially for that unused gym subscription you cancelled or the money you saved by cutting down your bills into your monthly savings.
Ultimately, every expense you cut down becomes worth it, as it’s adding to your savings. That means you are making the most of your money.
6. Bank your windfalls
Some cash windfalls can be life-changing. Imagine waking up one day to find you are R500 000 rich or even a millionaire. This could be a windfall from investments that have finally paid out or maybe receiving an inheritance.
Naturally, you would want to spend and spend. Upgrade your lifestyle. Clear your debts. Buy your dream car etc. depending on how much you got. While it’s okay go indulge yourself a little, saving the money is the best decision you can make.
Stash the money for 6months or so while you make a guided decision, with the help of a professional financial advisor on what you can do with the money. If nothing of great importance crosses your mind, keep the money in your savings.
7. Change an “unhealthy” habit
Unhealthy habits can be those that are hazardous to your physical health e.g. smoking or driving three blocks to buy milk, in this context, also referring to the habits that are hazardous to your financial well-being. These will leave a dent on your wallet or account e.g. extreme shopping habits, daily morning stop for coffee at Starbucks, regularly eating out.
Stopping these habits can offer a major boost on your savings and also go a long way in maintaining good physical well- being.
Quitting smoking and cutting out the meals you eat out will have the same effect as a pay raise on your finances. While walking short distances instead of driving will give your body exercise and save you on gas.
8. Save your raise
So, your hard work has finally paid work and you have a bank account that shows for it. Kudos! Celebrate yourself by exercising great financial wisdom and growing your savings.
Spending your raise on bills or saving it and investing in your retirement package is a choice between investing in your past or investing in a better, financially secure future.
Don’t let a lifestyle creep steal away the fulfilment of spending your golden years with a fat retirement package. Of course, you deserve a reward.
Spoil yourself a little by spending a small portion of the money on something you want really wants or align it with a fun saving objective like a vacation. Just don’t go overboard with your spending.
You have been managing well without that money so I’m sure directing it towards savings won’t have any detrimental effect on your lifestyle. The best way to use a raise is to fund your future i.e. your retirement fund and perhaps invest some of the money for medium to long term goals.
9. Change in a jar
Who said piggy banks are for kids? Keeping your own jar to keep loose change might seem like an insignificant thing when you are working towards big goals but trust me, it’s more significant than you can imagine.
Sure, the coins may only add up to R150 or so in a month but that’s R1800+ in a year that could have gone to waste. Above that, learning to keep coins inspires a culture of saving which means you will be more disciplined with bigger monies.
10. Make it a game
Money-saving has always been known to be such a loathsome, draining task. What’s the fun in not being able to spend your money, right? Let today be the last you harbour such negative thoughts about such an important task.
Re-focus your thoughts on your goals and the financial future you aspire for. See the bigger picture.
After that, find ways to make saving as fun as it can get, like the ones we have listed above. Make saving a game. This will go a long way to challenge you and motivate you into saving more money and remaining consistent with the habit.
Make saving competition between you and your friend/spouse/family. The winner for the month is whoever saves a bigger percentage of their income or cut down on the most expenses.
Whoever loses will have to buy the other person lunch/drinks or do something else as punishment. Humans generally hate losing. It’s funny but the drive to win might actually be the one thing that pushes you to save more than you ever have before.
Find your own creative ways to turn saving into a game and get started!
Remember, it’s not how much you save that matters because the habit is more important than the amount. Keep moving forward and you eventually reach your destination. Stay motivated and keep your eyes focused on your goals.