Like eating leafy greens, turning off our phone before bed and actually using our gym membership, we all know saving is good for us. But as the balance creeps up, it can be hard to keep sticky fingers away from the honey pot.
Follow our tips to get you to your savings goal without the self-sabotage.
1. Bring the passion back to saving.
Passion is the driving force that can see you turn saving into a habit rather than a chore. Set clear, achievable savings goals and reward yourself when you reach milestones.
You’re more likely to save if you can see the dangling carrot. Whether it’s a new laptop or a getaway with your mates, an aspirational target will keep you on track and excited.
2. Prioritise your savings.
Don’t just plan to save whatever is left over after regular bills. Chances are, it won’t happen. Give saving top priority by planning to tuck away a set amount each week, fortnight or month – any cash left over is yours to spend guilt-free.
If you have to trim expenses to make it work, get excited. You’re making an investment in Future You.
3. Make it easy for yourself.
Saving is hard, so be kind to you. Create an automatic transfer of funds out of your everyday account and into a dedicated savings account. Avoid overdraft fees by setting it to coincide with pay days.
It will be as though the money was never yours – until it comes time to cash in. On that day, you can withdraw it in hundreds and just stare at it until bedtime.
4. Learn to love cooking at home.
A recent report examining trends in the hospitality industry estimated that the average Australian household spent $94 a week on dining out. That adds up to around $5,000 a year, which is the price of a small horse. Embrace home cooking and feed the extra cash straight to your savings.
If you don’t have time to cook, prepared meal services like Hello Fresh and YouFoodz can be a cost-effective option, too. Plus, having more control over what you’re eating can be both empowering and better for you. Make friends with salad.
5. Stop wasting money on impulse buys.
We know. Sometimes you walk past a reusable bag you just have to have. But unplanned purchases can gouge a hole in your savings no enviro-conscious choice can fix.
Before you splash out, count to fifty. Sleep on it. Call your mum and see if she thinks it’s a good idea. Make it a rule of thumb to take some time out before going ahead with an impulse buy. If you still want the bag (it has a cool movie quote on it!), go back and take another look. It’s a fair bet it won’t seem so appealing second time around.
6. Be realistic about what you can afford.
One of the easiest ways to sabotage your savings is to try to do too much. Is it really “savings” if you have to withdraw funds again at the supermarket? Take a close look at how much you’re spending, then put away what you can actually afford to spare.
7. Trick yourself into thinking it’s fun.
You know those tricks you learnt as a kid to remember things? ROY-G-BIV? Every Good Boy Deserves Fruit? It’s time for the grown-up versions.
Block the psychological urge to spend by setting barriers. WWFMD: “what would future me do?”
The most important thing you can do is recognise that you’re achieving something really important, and it’s a challenge. No one expects you to smash it first go. You’ll probably have times when you “borrow” from your high-interest account, or neglect to put money away for a week.
Forgive yourself. Your savings goals are still reachable. Develop a few saving-friendly habits can see your mound of cash skyrocket in no time at all. Once you have a good savings rhythm underway, then you can look at strategies to ramp up your savings.
This article is prepared based on general information. It does not take into account individual financial objectives or needs and is not financial product advice.