Did you make a savings goal this year? Are you one of the millions of people who have put: Save more money/spend less money as a New Year’s Resolution?
Saving Money either through general saving or spending less is one of the ten most common new years resolutions that people make. But how can we make sure we hit those savings/financial goals? Here are 4 tips that you can use to help you make sure you hit your financial goals this year.
PS None of my tips require you to stop your coffee habit OR brunch, unless that’s something you’d like to do.
Savings Tip #1 Break it Down
When I first started saving money I had lofty goals and promptly didn’t hit any of them. Why? I was overwhelmed. While picking a goal like saving $5,000 is great, it’s also overwhelming to try to figure out how to going about doing that. Unless you have find some way to get a person to just write you a check for $5,000 one day. (By the way if you do figure out how that can happen, please let me know!)
Instead, use this first savings tip: break it down. That $5,000 goal? Think about it as $13/day, $96/week or $416/month. Is it still a lot — sure. But at least to me I can budget $13 a day. I can figure out if $96/week is possible. More importantly, I’ve also used this to realize goals that are a bit of a stretch or just flat out not likely.
I once told myself I was going to save $10,000 by the end of the year (I didn’t think about the fact that it was September at the time). When I broke it down I realized I was most likely setting myself up for failure. I reframed the timeline, adjusted the amount, and was able to create a goal that was more productive.
Tip #2 Be Specific in Your WHY
It is a great thing to say you want to spend money. But make sure you give yourself a WHY. Whether the why is true or it’s just what you’re telling yourself doesn’t matter. But it makes it easier to account for your money.
Your money doesn’t just have to sit in some bank account. It’s waiting for the next adventure or vacation. It’s for the designer bag you’ve always wanted. It’s for you to enjoy when you retire and are no longer working. It’s for future plans like weddings or kids. Remember money isn’t just to be hoarded it’s supposed to be used. So give your savings a WHY and it makes it so much easier to think about.
Pro Tip: If it helps, change the language around it. You’re not “saving money” you’re “paying yourself for your future ________ (fill in the blank)”.
Tip #3 Make it Fun
I will have a whole post about these coming later but if you can make it fun – Do it. For me everything about saving changed when I started doing Savings Challenges. I’m a wildly competitive person. Our family is so competitive we have effectively banned Monopoly and Scrabble in our house.
Savings challenges are simple. They either start with a goal amount or a time amount and then challenge you to hit them. There are challenges that are daily, monthly, and even yearly. My favorite one that I try to do every year (I am back with a vengeance after 2020) is the Dollar Per Week Challenge. Simple premise: Week 1 save $1. Week 2- $2 all the way until Week 52 – $52. Finish the challenge you’ll save $1,378.00 throughout the year.
Pro Tip: You can always take a challenge you want and adapt it to what works for you. For instance I usually reverse the Dollar per Week challenge, which makes it harder in January but easier in December.
Tip #4 Keep it Positive
Lastly, keep 👏 it 👏 positive 👏. You won’t always hit your goal right away. I can’t speak for you, but speaking for myself, I’m much more likely to do something positive than something negative.
When you mess up, fall off a challenge, or spend more than you want — what you tell yourself will really matter. If you tell yourself you’re “just bad with money” or beat yourself up it’s not going to “whip you into shape” it’s going to make you want to quit. So make sure you’re your own hype person. Reward yourself along the way. And remember you’re not at any point bad with money. You’re learning.
By the way — money is supposed to be enjoyed, used and spent. Maybe not faster than we can earn it but ultimately it’s your money. We don’t just work to earn money in order to save it. We should earn money so we can live the way we’d like.
Like I said in my money mantra post — as long as you’re spending money according to your values don’t let anyone shame you for using your money.
If you made a savings goal this year — you are not alone. First, celebrate yourself for taking that step and then make sure to use these tips and track your progress along the way. You can do it and I’ll be cheering you on along the way!
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