Learn How to Save Money in Just 4 Minutes
April 19, 2019 | By Louis Tully
Everybody wants to save. I mean having money in the bank is a no-brainer, right? Then why are so many of us (mostly young adults) still stuck in the ‘broke until payday’ cycle? Is saving money really that hard? Yes, yes it is. But it doesn’t have to be. Okay sure, bills need to be paid. Maybe you owe on some credit cards. And sure, maybe your income isn’t exactly what you’d call lucrative. But that’s no excuse to be devoid of a savings account!
Saving money is one of the most important things that you can do for yourself. It’s right up there with exercising and dieting. Of course, we all wish we could just skip the long dreadful process and just have the 6-pack abs and 50K in the bank. But nothing worthwhile is easy.
But saving money doesn’t have to be hard. It just has to be planned for; like going on a diet. Nobody plans to eat healthy all the time, but once you begin to food prep, you realize those homemade chicken caesar wraps aren’t so bad after all! Accomplishing your goals is just a matter of planning ahead so you can develop good habits. Once you’ve developed the habit, saving money (and losing weight) is a cake walk.
If you’re still not sure if saving money is possible for you, here’s a quick 4-minute guide that might put your doubts to rest:
Further reading: 5 Significant Money Hacks
Use automatic transfers
You probably already have a checking account, but what about a savings account? Most banks will offer a free standard savings account to their existing customers when they set up an automatic transfer. You can check in with your local bank for more details about this.
By setting up regular automatic transfers from your checking account to your savings account, you’ve already taken a giant step toward saving money! Nothing needs to be done after this step except a little basic budgeting. Figure out how much you would like to deposit and how often you want that transfer to take place. Most people like to align their automatic transfer with their payday schedule. So, if you get paid every Wednesday, you could have your automatic transfer set up for every Wednesday. It’s that simple.
The beauty of doing it this way is that you never have to see the money leave your paycheck. By the time you get paid, that portion of your paycheck has already been set aside for you. Pretty neat, huh?
As a rule of thumb, you’ll want to aim for 20 percent of your paycheck as the maximum or a minimum of 10 percent. This is up to you. Just make sure you’re giving yourself enough breathing room to make it through to your next payday. Otherwise, you might be putting yourself in a position where you’re tempted to pull from savings when your checking starts drying up.
Keep your savings out of sight
Saving money is a journey, not a one-stop destination. That’s why it’s best to just let the wheels turn and try not to think about how far along you’ve come. It really doesn’t matter after all. Saving money doesn’t really have a destination. The goal here is to simply keep your savings rolling along and never pumping the breaks.
If you bank online (which you probably do), opt to hide your savings account from your online banking dashboard. This is the easiest way to quit thinking about the money in your savings account, allowing you to avoid temptation when you feel like you could use some extra cash. Out of sight, out of mind, right?
Don’t break open the piggy bank
Again, you don’t want to put yourself in front of temptation when it comes to your savings. And trust me, there are going to be times when you’ll try to convince yourself why taking “just a little bit of cash” out of savings is a good idea. Let me save you the trouble now, it’s not. Taking any amount of cash out of savings is not good for your saving strategy. The more you take out, the more you’re just setting yourself back.
Now, if you find yourself caught in a real financial emergency, that’s one thing. But if you’re trying to pull money from savings just to go to a concert with friends, or to have a little extra to spend for your vacation, those are just not good enough reasons to break open the piggy bank.
Before taking any amount of cash out of your savings, always ask yourself, “is this worth it?” If you really have to think about it, it’s probably not. Sometimes, you just have to learn to go without for the sake of progress. Nothing comes for nothing, and sacrifices are absolutely necessary when it comes to achieving your goals. Remember, nothing worthwhile is easy.
This may sound a bit counterproductive, but it’s actually an effective way to make saving money fun! Set up small goals for your savings, and then plan to give yourself little rewards for accomplishing them. Buying something for yourself after successfully reaching your goal is certainly warranted. Just make sure to keep the rewards on the small side.
Studies have shown over and over again that reward systems work. They help keep us motivated by giving ourselves something to look forward to. Try setting up a savings goal that you can realistically achieve, then look for something you’ll reward yourself with once you’ve reached that goal. Just remember to keep the reward in proportion to the amount you’ve saved. Here’s a little example:
- $500 saved: a $20 record album
- $1,000 saved: a $50 video game
- $1,500 saved: a $100 pair of headphones
Don’t try to save too much, too fast
Don’t take the ‘tortoise and the hair story’ for granted. There’s a real moral there that unlocks the key to success. See, life isn’t meant to be rushed, pushed, or even competed for. Life is an experience that can only be had one breath at a time. Books are meant to be read one sentence at a time. Even the biggest skyscrapers are framed one steel rod at a time. Saving money is no different. Saving little by little over time will ultimately help you achieve a level of financial wellness you never thought possible.
Likewise, trying to save up too much, too fast will leave you broke. Which is the opposite of what you’re trying to accomplish. It’s like how biting off more than you can chew leaves you vomiting in the toilet. Like how working out too hard at the gym leaves you nursing unnecessary injuries. And how burning the candle at both ends leaves you unproductive while lying sick in bed. This is why it’s so important to set ‘small’ goals and to make saving money as painless as possible. It’s as simple as setting aside 10 percent of your income rather than 40 percent. What are you trying to prove? Who are you competing with? Remember, slow and steady wins the race every single time.