If you’re a spender by nature, saving money probably falls somewhere in between stepping on a Lego and getting a root canal on your personal pain scale. The problem is that when the refrigerator goes on the fritz or your roof springs a leak, you may end up regretting your less than frugal ways.
A new year is a good time to make a fresh start where your spending and savings habits are concerned. If you’re new to saving or you’ve tried to save in the past but you keep hitting a brick wall, here are some helpful tips for beefing up your cash reserves in 2017.
1. Put Your Goals In Writing
Keeping a mental inventory of your goals means you’re not chasing bits of paper but it’s not a foolproof system for building up your savings. It’s like going to the grocery story without a list. You always end up spending more than you planned and you inevitably forget the milk.
Before you do anything else, take the time to spell out exactly what it is you want to do savings-wise in the new year. For example, “save for retirement” is a good goal to have but it’s too vague to be actionable. “Save 10% of my income in my 401(k)” on the other hand gives you something specific to work towards.
2. Prioritize Your Savings
If you’re lagging behind where your savings are concerned, you may be tempted to try and catch up all at once. This can backfire, however, if you’re trying to save for retirement, grow an emergency fund or put money aside for your child’s future college expenses.