When we start saving, we’re often fuelled by optimism and good intentions – not to mention the glittering prospect of the holiday, car or occasion we’re saving for. But the hard part can be actually keeping the momentum going, and sticking to our plans. To help you stay focused, we’ve put together a few of our top tips to keep that saving game strong.
1. Visualise your goal
It’s easier to put money aside if you’re saving for something specific, so rather than simply saying ‘I want to save more’ – be clear on your goal from the get-go. Whether you’re aiming to be mortgage-free, head off around Europe, put the kids through school, or having the dream wedding, your goal will be the thing that keeps you going.
It’s great to keep a goal in mind, but why not go one step further and keep it in sight too? Visualisation is a technique that helps many people achieve their goals, so stick an inspiring picture on the fridge or make it your screensaver. It’ll help remind you why you’re going to all this trouble.
2. Make a realistic plan
Once you’ve worked out your savings goal, it’s time to figure out how to get there. This will usually come down to how much you can save per week or month – you can determine this by looking at your expenses and drawing up a budget. While being ambitious is great, you also need to be realistic – don’t expect to suddenly change your needs, wants and lifestyle overnight. It’s just like embarking on a new fitness regime: you’re better to set modest immediate goals you can actually hit, rather than push yourself too hard, get discouraged and give up. Even if you’re only setting a small amount it will add up over time – you can do it!
3. Make it public
Sometimes sharing a goal with people close to you can help keep you on track, because you feel accountable – you don’t want to let them, or yourself, down! You can also make your goal feel more concrete by naming your bank account to reflect what you’re saving for. Seeing ‘USA Roadtrip’ when you log into online banking or the ING DIRECT app will be a lot more inspiring than seeing ‘Savings Maximiser’.
4. Reward yourself
Your savings goal may involve a long-term savings plan, so persistence will be key. If the end goal feels a long way off, why not set smaller milestones along the way, and reward yourself when you reach them? Maybe you get a massage or treat yourself to a dinner out when you hit each $1,000 mark – whatever will keep you going. Sure, the reward may mean spending a little, but you’ve earned it. And if it helps you keep your eye on the prize, it’s worth it.
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