Quit Trying to Save Money
Have you been trying to save money for years without success?
Maybe something always seems to come up, and you never quite manage it on a regular basis. If so, it’s time to quit trying to save money.
That’s right. Quit trying to save money.
What that means
I’m not suggesting that you just go ahead and spend every penny you’ve got.
But when you keep trying and trying to do something without success, by definition whatever you’ve been trying isn’t working.
It can be hard to step back and realize it, because it’s human nature to think that next time will be different. Chances are, it won’t.
Unless YOU do something different in order to succeed.
So reverse things
Instead of buying groceries, getting gas for your car, paying bills, doing a few fun things, and then trying to figure out how to save money, reverse things.
That’s what I did. I no longer try to save money. Instead, I go ahead and save it. FIRST and always.
In my particular case, I was behind on retirement savings, so I had 30% of my check sent to retirement automatically each pay period. I didn’t get that money at all, so I didn’t have to “try” to do anything with it. It just went where I wanted it to go. Same goes for other types of savings.
It can work the same for you, with the amount you decide on. How?
It’s all in how you think about it
You never hear of anyone “trying” to buy groceries every month and somehow just not getting it done because “something just keeps coming up”, right?
No, of course not.
Groceries are a priority, and you successfully buy groceries each month if you’ve got the money at all.
Savings can work the same way once you get your financial house in order. Often setting aside money for savings IS a critical step toward getting your financial house in order.
How to quit trying and start doing
If you want to save money, first decide what you’re going to be saving for.
Is it an emergency fund? (If so, define what you’ll consider an emergency in writing.) Is it for college? Retirement? A vacation? Christmas?
Figure out how much you want to have in the account. Whatever you’re saving for then becomes the only thing you can use that money for. Commit to what you want.
Next, go set up an automatic savings plan somewhere right now and start your saving. I use Capital One, but pretty much every bank will let you set up a plan like that.
Start by saving a percentage of your take home pay. If you want to save 3% and you bring home $1,000 per pay period, that’s $30 each time you get paid.
But don’t wait til the end of the month. Have it sent away automatically so you never even see it, or immediately transfer the money yourself before you do anything else. If 3% seems like too much, start with 1%. Or $5. Or $1. It doesn’t matter much.
Just don’t pick some overly optimistic amount, like whatever you’d been trying to save previously. Instead, pick an amount that you know for a fact you can save and not touch. Ever, until the event comes to pass that you decided the savings account was going to be for.
After 3 months, revisit the amount you’ve been saving automatically and increase it just a little bit. Repeat until you’re at an amount that seems good to you.
You CAN succeed at building savings. And it’s fun, once you get going. Get started today and reap the benefits.