When the clock ticked past midnight on 31 December, you might have made some resolutions. Maybe you said, “This is the year I finally watch The Sopranos so I don’t need to keep pretending I’ve seen it.” Or, “I’m finally going to get my nail salon for cats – Pause Poor Paws – off the ground.” It’s pretty likely that you resolved to do something about your finances – and you’re not alone.
So, how do you set yourself up for success? With a plan, that’s how. To get you started, we’ve got some tips on how to set a sustainable savings routine this year – even if you hate routines.
Build a budget that actually works for you
You probably knew this was coming. Every article that’s ever been written about saving money tells you that you need a budget. But for all the repetition, there’s surprisingly little emphasis on the most important part: it needs to be sustainable. Your budget needs to fit you and how you live your life.
If you’re a Type A that thrives on accounting for every cent you spend, great! If the thought of spreadsheets leaves you cold, that’s fine too. Don’t try to hold yourself to a rigid system that turns savings into hard work. Think about it like exercise: if you’ve never run before, would you immediately sign yourself up for a marathon? Of course not. Skills take time and practice to develop – and effective budgeting is a skill like any other.
If you’ve struggled with budgets in the past, try our budget planner to see how you might reach your goals faster.
Keep your little luxuries
Obviously, when you’re creating your budget you’ll want to cut back on expenses. Often, the first things to go are the purchases you might struggle to describe as necessities. And if you’re spending $150 a week on food deliveries, then fair enough – a couple of trips to the local market could be a good start. But if getting a manicure brings you joy, keep doing it. The same goes if you relish your morning latte. Sure, you could save yourself some money by cutting out the face-time with your barista – but if the thought of reaching for a jar of instant coffee bums you out, you might struggle to see it through.
The trick is to plan for these expenses in advance. Take an honest account of where your money is going and consider these costs in terms of priorities. Ask yourself: What makes you happy? What can you live without? Like most things in life, it’s all about balance. If you cut out all the fun parts from your routine, you’ll grow resentful. And that can be a poison pill for savings success.
Share your goals (but think about who to share with)
Sharing your financial-fitness goal with someone close to you is a great way to create accountability that’ll help you stay on track.
You may be thinking, Wait a minute, haven’t I heard the exact opposite advice before? And you’d be right: there’s a whole TED talk about why you shouldn’t share your goals. But the secret to success could be sharing your ambition with someone you respect – like a partner or mentor. Research suggests if you’re invested in what they think of you, you could be more motivated to strive for your goal.
Automate your savings so you don’t need to think about them
Ideally, you want your savings routine to be as simple as possible. Something that can run like clockwork in the background. The less you have to think about it, the better. One way to achieve this is to set up recurring transfers on pay day, so the amount you want to save is automatically whisked away to a separate account. You can even set up accounts based on your goals using account names to help you stay motivated while you save.
If you’re an ING customer, you can also turn on Everyday Round Up on your Orange Everyday account to passively boost your savings balance. Here’s how it works: when you make an eligible purchase with your Orange Everyday card, it automatically rounds-up what you spend on card purchases to the nearest $1 or $5, popping the additional amount directly into your nominated Savings Maximiser account from your Orange Everyday. You could actually be saving when you spend. How good is that?
Be kind to yourself
Follow these tips and you’ll be on the way to achieving your savings goals. But also know that your path won’t necessarily be linear. Unexpected expenses and moments of overindulging will pop up along the way, and that’s okay. Don’t let that extra round of drinks for your friend’s last day at work derail your entire plan. Acknowledge that you spent more than you intended to and move on. As long as you keep bouncing back, you’ll stay on track for savings success.
Everyday Round Up feature applies to card purchases only. Customers must opt in and select to round up to the nearest $1 or $5. Eligible funds are transferred from the customer’s Orange Everyday to their Savings Maximiser account. A round up will not be debited if doing so would reduce the Orange Everyday balance below $20. Full details at ing.com.au.
ING is not affiliated with third parties mentioned in this article. ING is not responsible for any services provided by third parties nor does ING accept any liability or responsibility arising in any way from any products or services supplied by the third parties.
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