How to Save for Things You Really Want

Saving for a trip to the Eiffel Tower or anywhere else for that matter can be made easy when you have the right saving strategy.

Photo by kimberlykv, used with Creative Commons License.

We all have things we want to accomplish. For me, I have a whole list that I can think up before lunch time. We’re busy people, but for the most part, we all seem to be motivated to achieve something. These things don’t have to be big. Sometimes, they’re as little as a latte. Other times, they’re huge, like a trip to Europe.

Saving for the things we really want can be part of building a healthy financial future. It takes time, patience, and effort, but it’s definitely doable.

Here are some ways you can save for the things you really want:

Open a savings account

For most people, this is usually the first step in saving for something. By designating a specific place to house your funds, it becomes easier to manage the money you saved. You’ll be able to keep track of what you’re putting away and how close you’re coming to your goal. Plus, keeping money in the bank can mean less temptation to spend it than keeping your savings in a jar on top of the refrigerator.

There are many schools of thought when it comes to what type of financial institution to go with. You have lots of options when creating a savings account, so you could go with a credit union, a larger bank, a smaller community bank, or an online bank. Choose the one that best fits your needs and educate yourself on the options.

If you’re not good about keeping on a schedule of depositing money into your savings, you can always set up an automatic withdrawal to keep yourself on track. I do this with my savings accounts (I’ll get into why I have more than in a moment), and it’s an easy way for you to ensure that you’re actually saving the money by paying into it like you would any other expense. As Ron Popeil would say, “set it and forget it”…until you’ve reached your savings goal.

Sub-savings accounts

Depending on who you choose to bank with, you may have the option of setting up sub-accounts so that you have a specific fund for each savings goal. You can have sub-accounts for pretty much anything: an emergency fund, a vacation fund, retirement, etc. Having sub-accounts can keep you more organized, plus, it gives you a way to prioritize which funds you want to build up in the short term and long term.

Personally, I like having more than one savings. I have one fund for more short term goals and one for more long term goals. The short term account is set up through the same bank where I do my checking. Every time I use my debit card, they transfer over $1 to a savings account. Over time, this can build up to a nice sum that I can use to take care of some little things. The long term account is through an online bank which has a better interest rate and isn’t able to transfer money as quickly, so I know I won’t be tempted to tap into it. This is where I save for the big things.

Save your pennies

When I come home from work every day, I have a bit of a routine. I take off my shoes, check the mail, and then, I empty my pockets. For years, I’ve been saving my spare change and it’s definitely paid off. In the past two years, I’ve saved more than $180 in spare change. Once I cash in the coins, I put the money towards something needed (like a repair) or it goes into a vacation fund. Save your pennies – it may take awhile, but it can go a long way!

Replace an expense

Take a look at your finances during the month and see if you can find an expense that you’d be willing to give up. Then, take those funds that you’d usually be spending on something you don’t really need and put them in your savings account. See how long you can do this. Start off small by setting a goal of one month. You’ll be amazed at how much you’ll save. After that, you can look at giving up the expense for one year, or better yet, getting rid of it for good.

Give yourself goals

I’ll share a few of mine with you. Here are some of the things I’m saving for:

  • A vacation. Not sure where, but I want to see some place new in the next year or two.
  • A new laptop. Mine is on its last legs, so this is priority number one at the moment.
  • A zipper. I need to visit a tailor to fix the zipper on one of my skirts. It’s not critical, but it’s at the bottom of my to-do list.
  • A pair of TOMS. I’ve wanted them for a year now, but it’s not a top priority. This will be a treat myself sort of thing and it’ll probably be after the holidays when I have some extra cash.
  • A new (used, really) car. I love my Chrysler PT Cruiser. In fact, I’ve named him Petey. When the day comes that I have to send him to that big parking lot in the sky, I won’t be happy. But I can’t be caught unprepared. Cars don’t last forever, so I’m trying to prepare for the inevitable, as Petey has quite a few miles on him. I’m hoping to get at least 3 or 4 more years out of him (fingers crossed!).
  • Retirement. I have a retirement plan through my employer and I contribute a percentage of my income to that each month. I’m glad I started saving for this early.
  • Emergencies. I also have an emergency fund that I put a little into each month so that I have a cushion in case of some kind of hardship. I have it set up so that I deduct a certain amount out of my checking each month and it goes automatically into my emergency fund savings account.
  • Having goals makes saving for anything seem more in reach. Plus, having something tangible that you’re working toward helps to keep you motivated. Goals are good, and they can help you take better care of your finances.

    Big, little, and every size in between. Savings goals will come in all different shapes and sizes. The key is to figure out what you’d like to save for in the short term or the long term. Once you’ve prioritized your savings, you can focus on building up the funds – and eventually, enjoying the benefits of your hard work, patience, and financial self-control.

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    About Mandy Boyle

    Mandy Boyle is a writer, marketer, and all-around nice girl. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication Arts – Advertising & Public Relations and a Master of Arts in Communication Arts from Marywood University. Mandy is currently the SEO Team Leader for Solid Cactus, Inc. and is a published freelance writer.