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.
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:
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.