Isn’t it frustrating to feel you can be saving more?
You have great intentions at the begging of each month–yet somehow you spend most of your money. Are others able to save more because they’re naturally gifted?
If you’re struggling to save money, you’re not alone. Data shows more than half of Americans aren’t able to cover a $1,000 expense. Is the solution to be the average and continue saving little money?
Of course not.
You’re an action taker–someone who doesn’t settle for mediocrity. This is why you’re reading this article now.
The truth is saving money won’t behave to break bad habits and learn new strategies. Most of them will be simple but will need a focus on discipline. If you’re done aimlessly spending your money, you’ve come to the right place.
But first, be clear of why you want to start saving.
Most people talk about retirement. Others save for a vacation trip. So, is there a right answer for what you should save for?
Saving for retirement is a must, but once you’re tracking this goal, it’s time to get intentional. As you already know saving isn’t easy, and you’ll need to change your perspective if you hope to save more.
Grab a sheet of paper or use your smartphone to jot down what having more money will make you feel.
Will you be able to sleep better at night? Do you want to start a business but can’t go all in because of your current job? Do you want to feel great whenever someone talks about money?
Get intentional and think what having more money will bring to you. Use these reasons as your north start. The next time you’re tempted to spend money remember why you’re saving in the first place.
Then, start adopting better money habits. Go through this list and note which habits you’re weak and strong in:
1. Be Honest About Your Bad Habits
The most important habit you can learn is to face reality.
The reason why you haven’t been able to save for a long time is that you’ve delayed accepting the facts. I get it, it’s not easy to accept you’re not saving as much as you should. It’s easier to ignore this and spend the money you could be saving, hoping you’ll have enough left over.
Go ahead and admit to yourself you’ve been lying to yourself for some time now.
This isn’t to make yourself feel bad. Instead, be proud of yourself for being honest and show self-compassion. Now you’re aware you carry bad habits and it’s time to get to work.
2. Recognize Your Money Mentality
When you hear “savings,” what comes to mind?
Do you get excited because you’re on track for retirement? Or, do you cringe knowing you have been spending your money poorly these past few weeks?
The truth is you’re not saving because of the stories you’re playing in your head. Set some time in your calendar to interview yourself.
Figure out what money stories you’ve been telling yourself and challenge them. For example, if you believe you should spend your money as it comes–ask how this has resulted in the last few years. Your goal is to challenge bad money stories to create better ones.
3. Define Your Needs and Wants
It’s okay to like expensive brands. The problem is trying to buy everything because you want to keep up with friends and family. As Paula Pant states “you can afford anything but not everything.” This is why you need to define what your needs and wants are.
Create a list of items you truly need. For example, cell phone, and food, house are needs. Then, create your list of wants for items such as high-end shoes, latest smartphone, etc.
You shouldn’t buy everything from your wants list immediately. Instead, pick one and create a budget for it. Save money first and reward yourself with an item from your “wants” list once you’ve reached a savings goal.
4. Understand Your Cash Flow Using Top Tools
You may believe you understand your cash flow (money coming and out of your account.)
You get paid twice per month and spend an approximated amount of your salary on expenses. The rest sits on the same bank account without a purpose. This is a recipe for disaster.
Instead, use money tracking apps to better track your cash flow. Sync up all your accounts and let Personal Capital do the rest.
5. Learn How to Set SMART goals
You already know that saving without intention doesn’t work.
But, stating you want to retire happy isn’t enough. You need to set SMART goals. Think of SMART goals as ones you can take action on and track.
For example, “I want to be rich” isn’t SMART. Neither is “I want to be a millionaire.” But, “I want to save $500,000 within the next 10 years” is SMART.
The purpose of creating SMART goals is to be able to track your progress. How else would you know if you’ve reached your saving goals? Review your current financial goals and make them SMART.
6. Use Tools to Track Your Expenses
If you can’t manage your money well, you’ll always spend it poorly.
Your goal should be to keep your expenses as low as possible while having a high income. The problem is you may not review your finances regularly. Because of this, you might be overpaying for your services.
Again, you can track expenses using a money tracking app, showing you the amount you spend each month.