New Year’s resolutions are easy to make but difficult to keep. It all seems so wonderful, to make a goal for the distant future based on the idea of the kind of fabulous person you’ll be. Someone who wakes up at the crack of dawn and goes for a run, someone who knows how to cook and bake and sew and play the guitar — and perhaps, someone who has a bucket load of savings, thanks to their iron-clad self-control.
I don’t know if I can help you with the other stuff, but I can definitely offer some tips on building up your savings. I won’t lie, it’s not always easy to save your money but if it’s on your list of New Year’s resolutions, chances are it’s there for a good reason.
How To Stick To Your New Year’s Resolution Of Saving Money
Track Your Finances
Before you create your monthly budget — more on that in a sec — you need to know how much money you have going in and out every month. If you’re on a salary, this should be pretty straightforward. If you’re a freelancer or casual worker, your income will be varied from month to month, so it might be a good idea to track your spending for a couple of months to get a better general look at your financial position.
Really be strict with yourself about tracking every single dollar that goes in and out of your accounts. Once you think you have enough data — it might be a months’ worth, or more — it’ll be easy to see where you can cut down on spending. There might be direct debits coming out of your account that you completely forgot about. Cancel them!
Create Your Budget — And Stick To It
Now that you have a thorough idea of how much money you’re making and spending each month, it’s time to put some rules into place. You can delegate your cash however you see fit, but here’s a handy place to start.
First, budget enough from your monthly income to cover the necessities like rent/mortgage, bills and groceries first, then put some money aside for fun stuff — going out with friends, new clothes, streaming services etc. Don’t be super stingy here otherwise you’ll spend over budget every month and end up feeling bad about yourself, but don’t go nuts either. Then, set aside a monthly minimum savings deposit with the remainder of the cash.
Create A Dedicated Savings Account
This is one to chat to your bank about. Banks offer dedicated savings accounts that earn higher interest than regular accounts, which will help grow your savings even faster. You can even set up accounts that you can’t transfer money out of unless you contact your bank, which might be a good idea for those of us who are a little impulsive.
Automate Your Payments
It might feel a little counter intuitive to automate all your regular payments — remember those ancient direct debits we got rid of earlier? The thing is, as long as you know exactly what’s being debited out of your account and when per month, automated payments actually make things super easy. You can also set up automated transfers into your savings account so you don’t even see the money before it gets put away for a rainy day.
Stick To The 30-Day Rule
If you think of something you really want, not need, it doesn’t have to be an automatic “no way”, even if you’re working on your savings. The key to building up your savings is doing it in a healthy and sustainable way, which means sometimes you might end up treating yourself (to prevent impulsive, compulsive spending later on of course).
If it’s something you really want, for example, a Nintendo Switch console, sit on it for 30 days. Yep, 30 full days — mark it in your calendar. Promise yourself that if you still want that item 30 days from now you can purchase it. If you’ve moved on and forgotten about it, then awesome.
You can use these 30 days to really think about why you’re saving your money in the first place. Is it for a holiday, or a house? Is it just for security? Whatever the reason, it may just outweigh that fun purchase you want to make.
Sure, lettuce may be under $10 now but times are still pretty tough. Head to our Bougie But Broke vertical — brought to you by Cheddar — for more money saving hacks.