Have fun with your money: set up a savings account for holidays, treats and special occasions.
We all know saving is a good idea, but too often life gets in the way. Work, family and other commitments soak up our time, and sorting out money for a rainy day fund or a long-term dream seems to slip to the bottom of our to-do lists.
Yet the desire to save doesn’t go away just because we are busy. According to a recent survey by RaboDirect, 55% of people want to build up a rainy-day fund.
So here are 10 top tips to help you get into the savings habit:
1 Get motivated
There’s nothing more inspirational than realising how savings will help you achieve your dream - whether it’s a new house, a new car, a special holiday or long-term financial freedom.
Instead of budgeting, think of it as a spending plan to set yourself free. Be inspired and be creative.
This type of visualisation can be very powerful. In a survey for RaboDirect, 40% of people said that self-motivation would help them keep a financial resolution.
2 Stop being afraid of money
Start thinking about how money can work as a positive influence in your life. Instead of telling yourself “I’m no good with money” or “I find it hard to save”, try positive affirmations such as “I am starting the savings habit” or “I am in control of my own money.”
Visualise yourself achieving your savings target – what will you be able to do? How will that make you feel? Having a positive attitude will help you make the first steps.
3 Set goals
How much do you want to save? Rather than having a vague notion that you want to “save for the future”, think about what you really want, and how much that will cost. Make that goal measurable and achievable.
It might be “I want to save £25 each month” or “By the end of 2016, I want to have an emergency fund of three months’ salary in my savings account.”
It is easier to have small, achievable goals - “quick wins” that build confidence, rather than grand schemes. In RaboDirect’s survey, nearly one third of people (28%) said setting smaller targets helped them achieve financial objectives.
4 Celebrate the immediate wins
As soon as you start saving, remind yourself that you have started on a life-long habit that will give you financial freedom in the months and years to come.
Focus on the gains that occur as soon as you start saving. It’s much better to think about what you have achieved on a weekly or monthly basis, because even small amounts can accumulate into sizeable sums with time.
As you get used to saving, you can start to increase the amount you set aside each month.
5 Take control
Keep track of your spending and think about how you can free up some more disposable income each month. RaboDirect’s survey found that 40% of people found keeping track of day-to-day spending useful when trying to save.
You could keep a diary of what you spend each day, and add it up at the end of the week. You might be surprised by how small expenses mount up on a weekly basis. Where could you make savings without too much of an adjustment? Are there some expenses you could ditch completely?
6 Make it regular
Rather than setting aside a lump sum one month, and then forgetting, or not having enough to put in your savings account the next, think about what you can realistically afford now, then commit to saving that sum each month. That way, you’ll be setting up a behaviour that in time will become a good habit.
7 Make it automatic
Rather than making a note in your diary each month to save, set up a direct debit from your account into your savings account. If you arrange for the money to leave as you are paid each month, you won’t be tempted or able to spend it.
One quarter of people surveyed for RaboDirect reported that automatic deductions helped them achieve and stick to their financial goals.
8 Have fun with your money
Once you have covered the essential bills and created a habit for saving for the future, it’s time to take a few rewards.
Set up a savings account for holidays, treats and special occasions. This will motivate and reward you for your new financial habits. It will also mean you don’t feel guilty about spending money and your long-term savings don’t need to be touched.
9 Think ahead
There may be times when you feel the temptation to cash in your savings, or you worry that you are not saving enough.
If you think in advance about how you will overcome these doubts and obstacles – which we all feel from time to time – then you are much more likely to succeed in the long run.
10 Enjoy your financial freedom
Too often we see money as something which is dull and more of a chore than a pleasure.
If you change your mindset and think of it as an opportunity to change yourself and your life, you will start to see the endless possibilities that financial freedom can bring.
Coöperatieve Rabobank U.A., trading as RaboDirect, is licensed by the Dutch Central Bank in the Netherlands and is regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland for conduct of business rules. Terms and conditions apply. RaboDirect is part of the Rabobank Group.