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.
When you’re working with limited funds and trying to spread them between multiple accounts, it can take longer to see the savings start to add up. You may get so discouraged that you just decide to bail out altogether. If you have several different savings goals you want to work towards, start by focusing on the one that’s most important to you.
For example, if you want to put $5,000 in emergency savings and $5,000 in an IRA, think about which one is going to make the biggest difference in the short-term. If a disaster strikes, having some money in the bank means you don’t have to charge up a credit card to cover it. On the other hand, if you’re in your 40s or 50s with nothing saved for retirement, maxing out your IRA may take precedence over a rainy day fund.
3. Break It Down
There’s a saying that the best way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time and that same method applies to saving money. If you’ve set a goal of saving $10,000 in 2017, for example, you’re going to need a plan to make it work. That’s where dividing your goal into manageable pieces comes into play.
Over 12 months, you’d need to save $833 a month to add up to $10,000. On a weekly basis, that’s roughly $192. Take a look at your paycheck to see whether that’s reasonable, based on what you’re earning and how much your expenses are. If it is, then you’re already ahead of the game. If it’s not, take a closer look at your spending to see what you can cut out of your budget in order to swing saving the amount that you’re aiming for.
4. Create Reminders
Defining your goals is a step in the right direction but it can be easy to lose sight of them if they’re tucked away in a drawer somewhere. Tack a list of your goals to your refrigerator or the bathroom mirror so that you’re looking at them a few times a day. That way, what you’re saving for is always at the front of your mind.
Here’s another trick I’ve used with some success. Whenever I have a savings threshold I want to hit, I change my email password to a phrase that reflects the goal. For instance, if you want to save $10,000 for an emergency fund, you could change your password to something like “Save$10000”. Every time you login to your email or social media accounts, you’re driving the savings message into your brain.
5. Get a Partner
Working towards a goal on your own is tough, especially if it’s something you’re not used to doing. Enlisting a friend or family member to be an accountability partner can give you the motivation you need to keep going. They may provide advice or just encouragement but the main thing is that they help keep you on track.
Choose someone that you know to be financially responsible, instead of that one friend that always wants you to go out to dinner when they know you can’t really afford it. Give them a heads up on what your goals are and schedule regular check-ins where you share your progress.
6. Automate It
Automation can be your best friend when you’re trying to save more money and you want to avoid unnecessary headaches. It’s really as simple as linking your checking and savings account, then scheduling regular transfers between the two. You could transfer a few bucks each payday or a set amount one specific day of the month. Either way, you can relax knowing that the money’s getting moved into your savings account automatically.
Having a money fairy magic a wad of cash into your bank account would be nice but it’s not realistic. The truth is that saving money takes work, especially if it’s something you’re not used to doing. Keeping these tips in mind can help you grow your savings in the new year without a lot of unnecessary hassle.
What are your saving goals for the new year?
Mr. Mike Roberts – The comments pretty much say it all. While Rebecca may be
doing her ‘best’ at writing, she has a lot to learn about ‘common sense’ and the
aging population with regards to “saving” money while most are struggling to survive. Life happens, bad things happen to good people who have limited incomes. Wealth is not only $ in the bank, but counting blessings -health, family, friends, and choosing to be happy. Adding joy to others who are less fortunate,
is the true wealth one takes with them to the end of their life’s journey…
Thanks for reading! Unfortunately, this blog is about how to save money in a practical manner. In following with our blog’s content, this article is about saving money, not counting your blessings. Rebecca, who is an immensely talented writer and an asset to our team, offered pragmatic knowledge on how to do exactly that. If you’re looking for an article on counting your blessings, might I suggest a blog that offers that kind of advice instead? Point #5 was especially helpful for me 🙂
Yes, maddening funny article, funny gorgeous and clueless young blond! I’m beautiful, too. I worked all my life. I’m very bright. My retired nurse friend told me I need an investment counselor or whatever the hell. Ladies, YOU try to juggle exactly $1,188/mo. to pay HUD senior housing, eat organic, keep the car insured, get over the mountain for VA healthcare because Veterans Choice is a damned joke — and . . . save for cremation! Social Security has been the same for two years. I have a dental estimate of $3,800 and brake work of $400 — plus two hand surgeries I may have to get in the troubled civilian world. As for this immature notion of prioritizing, I am proudest of having gradually lost — all on my own — 60 pounds! And that is why I’m wearing too-big, somewhat odd thrift shop put-togethers just now. I syringe-fed baby chipmunks two nights ago and hustled to clean the bear house, put out food for three bear cubs who will be wild and free next spring. I wore 15-year-old New Balance tennis shoes to do this! I do my own manicure — short, for playing the piano, a Steinway. Maybe in 50 years this silly girl will understand about manifesting the Good Life on a shoestring! Right now, her mug shot ruins her credibility.
Thank you Mike Roberts for addressing the rude and ignorant comments that were made towards Rebecca Lake. They were clearly foolish. Sometimes people get angry and bitter when they see something that they could never have! Grow up!
I’ve been reading posts from thecreditsolutionprogram for a year now. This is my first time submitting a comment. Not only is the article funny and well written, the tips are helpful. Saving is hard! Rebecca summarizes what’s important to consider and offers practical strategies anyone can use to set and meet goals. Thanks Rebecca!
First I’ll grant you I did not learn anything from the article either,and your entitled to your opinion.However Keith ,Wow. So I guess your a writer/producer whatever don’t care. That does not give you the right to put anyone down especially with your crazy judgement of someone young and good looking can have no experience or valued input assumption. From her twitter I am assuming shes a mom could be single and struggling and jump at chance to write anything. Point is you don’t know. Myself I trust someone closer to my age and maybe some of the same experiences than some rich old fart. I’m 34, I have 3 kids,I consider myself attractive, sure as hell have had to work hard for every penny and been through much financial struggle. I think you need to learn to not judge a book by its cover and that no one could get anything out of the article.
why in the world, would they take a beautiful blond haired thirty year old woman, and have her write about money? I admit as a professional writer myself, that you can write, but about credit? The dichotomy is silly. Your not old enough to know much about your topic. But you submitted and got a job that got posted on Mike Roberts site. May I respectfully ask, what makes you an expert? Your so young. I do give you one thing, and that is, I like the style by which you conjugate and I admit it fooled me, until they published the author. But now that I can see what you look like, I feel scammed. Your too young to be writing as an expert on bad credit. I read Mike because , like you, am interested in journalism. But to publish you on anything of this serious nature is just a bad choice. I might feel different if you were not so attractive…or if you had “some” life experience to draw from. But your article, which engaging …is blown out the window by using your picture Rebecca, so those of us that read, wanna read good writing ….and that you can do. But is it not fair, to write about things of which skew more in the genre of a millennial? All I am saying is that writing about Money, when you have never made any real money, or do Not have a half a million, which you don’t twerk the whole ideology of being a finance writer.
In closing, I admit, you had me fooled and I didn’t learn anything I didn’t know, but the reason is because as a freelancer, you got a job and got published. But it would make sense to me, that although your young or this is an old picture, would you not want to write on something that suited your demographic?
Ya know, pop culture, or men or anything that makes sense given your appearance? The truth is, a woman that looks like this Has no financial problems and never will…which makes reading your work a mockery.
Your a lovely young woman. Would you rather be writing about something that fit your look?
You’re… as in you’re a fucking tool. Mister I am a writer and think I can be judgmental of anyone who does the same. What a joke.
Give her some slack. At least she’s trying. And, I’m sure she’ll get better as she posts more. By the way, you can’t be a professional writer if you don’t know the difference between your and you’re. She outperformed you, Mr. Professional Writer, in that department.
Keith, I was first inclined to remove your comment because of the personal attack, but I think it’s better left for everyone to see. I really don’t know where to start… first, you don’t need to be an “expert” to write about debt – many people over the age of 20 have some experience that can help others. You also most definitely do not need to have a healthy retirement account to write about debt and credit. I know I didn’t when I started this site. Finally, the sexist slant to your comment is bizarre… You seem to be implying that a grown adult woman is only suited for writing about pillow fights, boy crushes, and makeup tips. Really? Have you never met a woman that has to pay bills? Support a family? Think about and plan out her finances? Somehow I doubt that.
I enjoyed how you have obviously risen above your status by writing on topics that don’t fit your look. As we all know, a person’s character, intelligence, life experience, education, and personal life struggles are easily discernible by viewing even a single photograph. I therefore commend you on your bravery and ambition! It must have been difficult – where would you even begin??? I mean, obviously a man helped you think up this idea (I hope you made him a nice sandwich as a thank you) but even so, I can’t imagine how strenuous this must have been for your poor little female brain! **sigh, eye roll, sigh**
As one attractive female to another – keep on kickin’ ass! Men like Keith will always try to bring us down, but they are nothing. In fact, it is the knowledge that they are nothing that leads them to sit behind their computers and write such ill informed, ill written drivel. You’re doing great work and I look forward to seeing more from you!