The vast inter webs, your parents, and that guy smiling smugly from the latest hit finance book are chocked full of advice to help you save your hard-earned dollars. With information flowing in from every corner, it can quickly start to feel like you’ve tried everything.
Still not seeing your savings add up the way you want them to? Keep up the good fight and try these.
1. Play keep away, with yourself.
Divert part of your paycheck directly into your savings account. Some employers allow pay checks to be deposited into multiple accounts. If yours does, designate a sustainable percentage to go to savings. Not sure what you can reasonably put aside? Start with a set amount, such as $50 (the minimum to open an account at many banks) or even $100. At the end of your pay period, evaluate how much, if at all, you miss that amount. Can you increase it? Dedicate raises and bonuses directly to savings.
2. Adjust your withholding.
“Withholding” is just that—money automatically deducted from your paycheck to pay taxes owed the federal government. If the amount withheld each paycheck is correct, you should not have to pay taxes at the end of the year. Adjust your withholdings every time a major life event occurs, such as a birth or death, marriage or divorce, or starting a new job.
3. Make a public declaration.
Who is the most lovingly critical person in your life? Who is the person who both cares for and nags you? Tell that person that you are dedicated to saving money; tell them why, and tell them how much. This person will likely voice their disapproval when you shop or spend unnecessarily; let them, and appreciate their function.
4. Get competitive with your crew.
It takes a village to do a lot of things, and a strong community can help you keep your savings initiative on track. Recruit your closest friends to form a savings club. Develop a reading list, create a list of discount warehouses to watch for sales, team up to buy in bulk, and anything else that will help each member. Feeling shy about publicly acknowledging financial woes? Don’t be—everyone struggles, for different reasons. You are among friends, and you can help each other. Need even more motivation? Start teaching your kids about spending. Nothing passes a child’s eye, and the pressure you feel to set a good example will motivate you to save and spark instructive dialogue, to boot.
5. Pay your car loan, forever.
Finally paid off that vehicle, student loan, or personal debt? Congratulations! Wondering what you’ll do with that chunk of change that used to go to your bill? Keep paying it—to yourself. You were getting by just fine when that money went to someone else. You’ll do just fine now, putting the money directly into savings. Added benefit—hefty savings mean you may not have to take a loan like the one(s) you paid off, ever. Now that feels good!
6. Stay focused.
Saving for something specific? Keep your eye on the prize, literally, by placing photos of the items or notes with a key word on your wallet and near your computer. Tempted to peruse the world wide web for some spontaneous, pajama-clad retail therapy? Halt! Take a look at the picture—what you’re saving for is much more satisfying than any spontaneous purchase.
7. Work more.
There are two sides to the savings coin. One is to save more; the other is to earn more. The basics are tried and true ways to succeed. Pick up a part time job, freelance gig, or duties, like a neighborhood dog walker/babysitter/handyman, and put all that you earn directly into savings.
Ready to start saving? Check out these 5 Quick and Dirty Hacks to Save Money in 2014.
Featured photo credit: Ken Wilcox via flickr.com