We’re a couple of months into 2020 now, which means you’ve almost definitely forgotten about all those New Year’s savings goals you made, but it also means you’re not too far gone and can absolutely get your measly bank account back on track.
First of all, revisit your savings goal and make sure it’s very real and trackable. For example, maybe you want to save $1,000 every month – which means $250 a week, right? Simple in theory, and yet, not so easy in practice. This is why you need to employ other tools to help you stay on track.
1. Cut out excess spends
Sick of a million articles telling you to stop buying coffee to magically save a million dollars? Yeah, same. They’re not entirely wrong though – it might not be coffee, but taking a serious look at your spending and recognising where you can cut down genuinely makes a difference.
If you’re serious about your savings goal (and you should be) this is one of the first steps. Whether it’s plant babies, new clothes, decking out the house, meals out or several coffees a day, we all have a money vice that we can 100% live without.
2. Know how much to put aside
On that note, what do you actually need to cut in order to reach your goals? Rent, bills and incidental costs of living are insane, so let’s be realistic and say that each year, you’re probably looking at saving $1,000 to $5,000, depending on your salary.
If you’re at the end of $1,000 a year, that rounds to $19.20 a week or a teensy $2.70 a day. I can absolutely see why people are suggesting we skip the coffee now.
If you’re somewhere in the middle at $2,000 a year, that’s $38.50 a week or $5.50 a day. If you take your own lunch into the office, there’s your daily savings right there.
3. Use your banking tools
Now you know how much you need to save each day, the savings tools your bank provides can be a huge help to get there. For example, CUA has a feature called ‘Savings Top Up‘ which you can turn on via online banking (if you have an Everyday and Savings account with them). In a nutshell, you pick a top-up amount from 1c to $5 which will automatically transfer into your savings every time you spend with your CUA Visa Debit card. (Don’t worry though, if you have the available funds in your account the transfer won’t happen.)
Sometimes getting someone else to think about the actual savings part for you can help with avoiding the temptation of over-spending.
4. Write it all down
If you look at the advice from just about anyone who has successfully reached their savings goals, they’ve physically written down every purchase. This makes sense – it’s way too easy to tap and go and never consider what you’re buying until a purchase is suddenly declined. It’s a sad tale that happens to me wayyyy too often.
Writing it down adds a level of accountability that you simply can’t deny. No more complaining “where did all my money go” when it’s literally written in front of your face.
There you go, whether you’re hoping to save $1,000 or $10,000, the basic savings principles remain the same. It’s not rocket science, but it does take a conscious effort to stay on track.Image: Spongebob Squarepants