I am a terrible money saver. Every two weeks I get that beautiful paycheck and I’ll say to myself, “This is going straight to your savings account.” And then later that day I will see an electric water flosser online and realize that my oral hygiene routine is crap and regular floss JUST won’t cut it anymore. So of course I buy it. And while my teeth are indeed slightly more clean, it feels like I probably could have lived without it.
The thing is I’m great at paying off my monthly bills! It’s no trouble at all! The problem is long term goals. I have dreams to travel the world one day and it looks like at this rate, it may just stay a dream.
How can I find the willpower to save the money for a life changing trip?
– Financially Inept
Dear Financially Inept,
You’re not alone! Sometimes it just feels good to buy something new, especially when you truly believe in that moment that this item will change your life for the better. Maybe it’d even make you save more in the long run! But if you want to travel the world you gotta cut something out.
Here are some ideas:
- Save during the weekdays and give yourself one (small) treat at the end of the week. The item has to be $20 or less. This is the best of both worlds, you save and then you get rewarded.
- For anything big that you want to splurge on, make yourself wait a month. If you still really want it in a month, and it’s worth taking that money out of your account, then go for it. During that month you can look for coupons, deals, or a cheaper version of it.
- Cut cable. Most people I know have done this already. Cable is ridiculously expensive and coming close to unnecessary. Even if you have 3 streaming services, the total cost will be at least $40 less a month. Find other ways to cut spending, make coffee at home, stop ordering from Postmates, get one less cocktail at the bar, don’t get your monthly massage or manicure/pedicure. Small things can and do make a difference.
- Invest the portion of your paycheck that you wanted to save. Do some research and find companies that tend to do well, buy some stock and watch what happens. It’s fun to see your money grow, but can be a risk.
- Open a new savings account with a different bank. As soon as you get your paycheck, or even every other paycheck, transfer a portion of it into that savings account. Out of sight, out of mind.
- If your check isn’t direct deposit already, DO THAT RIGHT THIS INSTANT. That way, it’s in the bank. You don’t touch the check. All you have to do is log on to your account and transfer it to your savings. Badabing badaboom, you’re done.
- Apps like Unsplurge, Clarity Money, and Mint make it a little easier to spend less and save more.
It’s tough to save, but once you get in the habit it can be fun. Especially when you think about what you can do with your savings!
Want some reading material while you save? Richard Syrop wrote Effortless Savings: A Money Management Guide To Saving Without Sacrifice for those who want saving to be as painless as possible.