Saving money can be hard.
There’s always something trying to pull your money away from you and there are always unexpected, random expenses that come up that get in the way.
Car repairs, spontaneous eating out, medical expenses, home repair…you name it. All are forks in the road, but there are easy ways to keep you on the right track. Or at least avoid the potholes in the road that are ready to derail you.
Start out by setting your goals
What are you aiming for? Setting specific goals that aren’t too easy, but aren’t too difficult creates the proper amount of motivation for individuals according to studies as far back as the ‘60s. Set realistic time frames as well, and you are setting yourself up for success before you even begin.
Have some social motivation
Having a savings partner, whether that’s a friend, family member, or just someone with the same goal, can be a great way to hold yourself accountable. If someone else is checking-in on you and making sure you’re holding up your end of the bargain, you are much more likely to hold onto your motivation than if it was just you. Social savings apps like ZigZig (www.zigzig.co) are a great example of a tool that can help you with some social motivation too.
Don’t just create your end-goal. Create regular check-ins so you can have little wins along the way. It’s harder to stay motivated when your goal is so far away; however, if you have smaller ones throughout your time-frame, you can celebrate little successes when they come up so you can feel (deservedly so!) that you are making good progress.
Put subtle reminders in place for yourself
When people are trying to lose weight, many will write notes to themselves on their mirror so when they read it in the morning or evening, they are reminded of what they are trying to do. Saving can work the same way. Leave notes on your mirror, in your wallet, on your fridge, or at the door. All areas that you frequent are going to be great ways to keep you on track. Regular reminder emails from services like ZigZig too are also a great way to keep up.
Focus on you and ignore other’s spending habits
Don’t worry about what your friends or family are spending their money on. If they are going out all the time, spending money they don’t have or just not spending their spare money wisely in your opinion, don’t worry about it. Focus on what you can control. Yes, it will require some sacrifices on your part because you may not be able to participate in all of the events your friends or family are. Ultimately though, this is where your other motivational techniques come into play so you can focus on yourself.
Keep track of your progress
To see how close you are getting to your final goal, or even some of your mini-goals, just keep track. Whether that’s using ZigZig, Mint, or your own budget tracking application, checking your progress helps you show where your at. Make an extra few deposits over a month? You’re that much closer, and it’s easier to tell.
Saving isn’t easy. That’s why, frankly, so many people suck at it. But with the right motivation and the right methods, you can be well on your way to hitting your savings goals.