How do I save more money?
Savings is one of the foundational activities you'll do in your personal finances: whether it's saving for retirement, an emergency, or for your health expenses. Though each of these has their own sets of tips/tricks (e.g. which account to use, in what situations, etc.), there are strategies that can help you get better at saving in general so you can follow-through more consistently! Here are some tips:
Be Clear What You're Saving For
There are common savings goals out there, from travel funds to rainy-days. However, adopting one-size-fits-all recommendations won't motivate you to overcome the pain of putting away X% of your pay-check, so we have to get specific!
If you have no idea what you want, starting with a good brainstorming session can help give you some ideas. Once you have an idea, turning it into a SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-Bound) goal will make you way more likely to achieve it. Especially focus on S and T, because that'll inform how much you have to save and when you need the money by, respectively.
For example, it's way easier to motivate/achieve "save for a trip to Costa Rica next year" than it is to "save for travel" 🌍.
Set up a System
This idea was popularized by Personal Finance guru Ramit Sethi (check out his guide here for more info): if you can automate your financial decisions, you won't have to use any will-power when progressing towards your savings goals. We've known about the power of automation since at least the early 2000's (e.g. ~50% higher participation in 401(k) programs if the default option is opt-in). Here are some tips for automating your savings goals:
Auto-Move Money: if you have direct-deposit set-up, your paychecks will automatically land in your checking account each pay-period. When that happens, you'll want to make sure that that money gets piped into the right accounts automatically → auto-deposit into High-Yield/Regular savings accounts, auto-contribute to retirement/investment accounts, etc.
Sub-Savings Accounts: most banks/financial institutions will allow you to have multiple savings accounts, and putting labels on different accounts can (a) help you pipe money in the previous tip more effectively and (b) attach emotions to the money based on the goal. Seeing the number of $$$ in your "trip to Bali" go up each month can be extremely motivating 😀.
Increase Savings Gradually: once you have deposits/contributions on auto-pilot, it's easy to tweak the amount your saving each time period. Using tips from behavioral economics, we can slowly (e.g. over the course of months) ramp up our savings rate to reach our goals faster. If saving 20% of your salary right away for that down-payment is daunting, start at 5% and increase 1% each month and see how far you get 🙂.
Savings Article → this goes over the reasons why savings is so hard, and deep-dives into these tips and more on how to overcome them and reach your savings goals!
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Disclaimer: The content on Young, Not Broke is for informational and educational purposes only and should not be construed as professional financial advice. Should you need such advice, consult a licensed financial or tax advisor.