Published on 01-10-2020
For the past ten years, Fidelity has done a New Year Financial Resolutions Study, trying to gauge what financial goals people are pursuing for the upcoming year.
What’s fascinating to me is how often the goal of saving more comes up on that list. As far as I can tell, it’s been in the top three the entire time.
In last year’s study, a whopping 48% of those surveyed said that was their top goal for the year!
Saving more is a fantastic financial goal. Besides building an emergency fund, there are many other goals families are saving up for like:
However, the tricky part for many is setting up a system to reach those goals.
You don’t have to be a natural saver to make your big goals. Instead, focus on picking habits that help you make saving a part of your regular routine.
It’s an effective (and less stressful) way to tackle your savings goal.
After hundreds of interviews with financial experts and couples who have saved a significant amount of money, I’ve found that their advice had some common threads.
If you’re serious about saving more this year, here are seven ways you can up your savings rate (and still have a life)!
You probably heard this many times, but it’s been true for many families that I’ve interviewed - when they treated savings like a bill and scheduled it, they were able to stick to their plan better.
Before we got serious about saving, I remember when I waited until the end of the month there wasn’t anything really leftover.
Now a day after the paychecks come in, that money is deposited into our savings. Prioritizing it has allowed us to drastically increase our savings.
Along with paying yourself, a simple fix to make sure you’re actually saving money is to schedule an automatic transfer each month.
For most people (and especially so if you’re a parent with young kids!) there’s already plenty to do.
Make it easier on yourself by taking five minutes this week to set and schedule a transfer each week, month, or paycheck into your savings.
It’s a small thing, but it can give you a big boost.
A simple hack that can not only help you save more but make managing money a little bit easier. Whenever you make a purchase, round up and stash away the difference into savings.
I’ve seen families start by rounding up to the next dollar and then move onto the next $5 or $10 and so on. Small amounts can add up quickly.
If you’re looking to make a big change, but your spouse isn’t quite on board yet, then try out a monthly money challenge.
Committing to a big goal for a short amount of time may win them over as they can see some big results. You can also switch it up every month to keep it interesting and tailored to your circumstances.
Want a simple, but powerful way to save more? Remind yourself of your why by having a visual reminder of your goal around.
You can put a picture on the fridge of your dream house if you’re saving up for a down payment or maybe have a pic of your kids as your wallpaper on your phone if you’re saving up for a family vacation.
Those small reminders can help you stay focused as you say no to certain expenses like eating out for lunch so you can save more for your big dream.
Today there are plenty of ways you can stay on top of your money. You can use your Coastal app to see how you’re doing anytime right on your phone.
There are also spreadsheets and other budget tools, each designed for different situations (like couples or freelancers) that can help you create a budget.
Whatever app or system you decide to use, just make sure it’s something that fits you and it’s something you consistently follow.
The most comprehensive app is worthless if you don’t use it. Simple can be perfect since you can focus on one or two big goals you’re working on for the year.
Depending on what you’re saving up for, this may be a long term plan. If so, you want to stay motivated as you’re working towards it.
When you hit certain milestones, such as getting that first $1,000 stashed away for emergencies or you’ve scheduled an extra $300/month to go into your house fund, take some time to celebrate.
It doesn’t have to be expensive - you can do a picnic or lunch out at your favorite food truck or spot. These small celebrations can keep you going until you hit your goal.
I hope these tips help you become a super saver so you can reach your big goals faster. If you haven’t already, go ahead and start saving towards your big goals!
I’d love to hear from you - which habits or tricks have you used to save more for your big goals? What’s been the easiest to implement? What’s been the hardest?
Elle Martinez is the creator of Couple Money, a personal finance podcast and site focused on helping couples get on the same page, dump their debt faster, start building wealth together