I have always been a saver. I know that’s not what you want to hear from me. But, that is just the plain hard truth. When I was a kid I begged my mom to take me to the bank to open a savings account. The bank fascinated me and I loved seeing my money accumulate. And I got free money! It was pennies, but still, free money to an 8 year old is awesome.
There are so many reasons to save money, but it can be a hard transition. Especially if you are a natural spender. For those of you that are natural spenders, I recommend some automation to help you out.
If you naturally save your money, then you can have some serious fun in saving some money. But, I still recommend automation. Let’s be real, it’s just plain easier this way. Personally, I enjoy simplifying my life in any way possible.
There are so many ways to save money, but you need to find what works for you. This isn’t going to happen overnight, take the time to figure it out.
It’s part of your budgeting. Once you have a budgeting system you like, dive into a saving money system. Here are a couple ways that I have saved money in the past.
1. Sinking funds to save money.
My fave part of my finances, other than paying off debt. I love my sinking funds. That may sound weird, but they are truly the game changer of budgeting. They have brought so much relief to some of the crazier times in my life. That’s typically when I’m using most of my sinking funds.
I woke up with what I thought was strep throat and headed to urgent care. I didn’t even need to think about the financial aspects of this trip. I already had money in my sinking fund for this. It’s amazing to not have to think about my budget when I’m sick.
Another example was when a nail went into my tire diagonal. They tired to patch it, but it didn’t work. They came out to me with the bad news I’d need a brand new tire, when my tires were only a month old. I didn’t even need to think about money. All I had to do was move my money from my sinking fund to my spending account.
If you don’t have sinking funds, I strongly recommend you start creating some. Sinking funds allow you to not touch your emergency fund as much and allows your budget to stay intact. I really only think about using my emergency fund for income loss, or something is more than I have in my sinking funds.
So far on my debt free journey, I haven’t had to touch my emergency fund. My sinking funds have always covered whatever I needed.
2. Automate transfers as soon as you get the money.
I am all about automation and simplifying aspects of my life. There is no difference when it comes to saving your money. There are a few ways to do this. You can have your direct deposit set up to have a certain percentage go straight to your savings account. Or, you can set up the transfers yourself after you are paid.
I personally have automatic transfers set up for a few days after I am paid. This way I know the money has cleared the account and I won’t get overdrawn by accident. I personally like doing it this way because I have more control over the unexpected.
For example, if something unexpected were to come up that I can cash flow, I absolutely will. In the event of this happening, I can just cancel the automatic transfer for that month. This allows the money to be in my account already and not need to transfer it from savings.
If you set up an automatic deposit to your savings account, then you’d need to transfer the money from savings. Savings accounts only allow 6 transfers every month. This is another reason why I don’t do this. When life gets crazy, sometimes you need those 6 transfers.
Either way, you need to find what will work for you to save more money. If not seeing the money in your account is easier for you, absolutely set up automatic deposits. It’s not worth the temptation for you.
3. Start off slow to save your money.
If you aren’t a natural saver, I suggest starting off slow. In the beginning, start by just transferring a small amount each week. Of course, this is after you have created a budget and know you have extra money in your budget.
If you don’t have extra money in your budget, you need to cut some expenses or increase your income. It definitely would be easier to cut expenses quickly. I always say to list out your transactions from the previous month. Add up different categories, like groceries, gas, eating out, etc. Whatever pisses you off the most, cut it out.
This will make it easier for you to cut an expense because you’re angry you spent so much money in a specific category. This isn’t going to build a ton of wealth, but it’s a good place to start. For me, I was so annoyed by how much my transactions added up to at Chipotle and Starbucks.
When I saw the number added up over the month I immediately cut it out. I started meal prepping and making my coffee at home. These are your quick fixes to free up cash. Eventually, it’s much more practical to cut expenses in the larger areas of your budget, like housing. It’s why I moved home with my parents, it freed up a ton of cash in my budget.
By slowly starting to save, it will get easier to add more and more once you see the money start to pile up.
4. Create specific goals to save for.
Focus on one savings goal at a time. When you are trying to save for multiple things, it can get overwhelming. The only thing I recommend doing at the same time is sinking funds. Those have very specific purposes and are easily divided over multiple months.
For example, figure out the exact number you need to save for a specific purpose. Work towards that. This way once it’s done, it’s done. You’ll no longer add to it, unless you need to use the money and need to replenish it. This is the perfect example of your emergency fund. Once you hit your goal, it’s done. Let it sit in that high yield savings account and grow for you!
By creating specific goals, you’re able to measure if you’re hitting those goals. Create a visual for yourself so you can see how you are doing with your progress.
5. Track your net worth.
Being totally honest here, I don’t track my net worth currently. Mint lets me know based on my accounts that are connected. But I don’t have all my accounts hooked up.
My net worth is really not motivating for me right now, since I still have a lot of debt. But, I can’t wait until I focus more on my savings goals. I already have them started on a list. Once I am saving more of my money, it will be incredibly motivating to see my net worth grow.
It’s super important to find what motivates you and work towards that. Right now, I’m motivated by seeing my total debt decrease each month and focusing on each loan. When I see my net worth and how far I am still in the negatives, it just kills me. I can’t wait to hit a positive number and start tracking my net worth every month.
Find a system that works for you.
You need to find a system that works for you. Whatever is going to make you be successful in your savings goals is what you need to do. It’s going to take some trial and error, but take the time to figure it out. Once you have a system that gets you to save, you’re going to find it easier to do. How do you make sure you hit your savings goals?