The following post is from Christina of Northern Cheapskate:
As my husband and I dug our way out of debt, we often reminded ourselves that getting to debt-free was a marathon, not a sprint. While it was easy to get into debt, it takes an incredible amount of time, energy, and determination to get rid of that debt.
So, if the journey out of debt is a marathon, then learning to save money is lot like marathon training. You have to condition those saving muscles so that you are able to keep saving even when things are tough. You’ve got to develop the stamina to keep moving toward your financial goals.
Here are several great ways to create a savings habit:
Pay yourself first.
One of the simplest ways to develop the savings habit is to pay yourself first. What does that mean? It means that whenever you come into money – whether it is a paycheck or a windfall – put some of it into savings before you do anything else. It’s easy to set up a direct deposit to your savings account, and you can make sure money is automatically transferred from your paycheck to a retirement account, too. Ideally, you should be setting aside 10 to 20 percent of your income into savings, but just remember that every little bit counts.
By putting money into savings first, you’re training yourself to live within your means. And because you’re making saving automatic, you won’t be as tempted to spend that money.
Save your spare change.
Another simple way to save is to put all of your spare change into a jar. Other folks pledge to put every $1 or every $5 bill they get into a savings jar. It doesn’t take long at all for that little bit of “extra” money to add up. And when you can visibly see your savings grow, you’ll be more motivated to save even more.
Focus on your goals.
Set good financial goals and regularly review them. If you’re saving for something special, post a picture of it on your bathroom mirror or put a snapshot of the item with your wallet. When you are reminded of what you are saving for, it becomes easier to stay on course.
Surround yourself with other savers.
Connect with family and friends who are also making it a goal to save money. You’ll be able to share experiences and frugal living ideas to help you reach your goals, and you won’t be tempted to spend money frivolously. Read inspiring money-saving books and websites to keep you motivated.
Celebrate your success.
Once you’re in the habit of developing savings habits, don’t forget to celebrate your success with a small reward. By treating yourself (maybe with a dinner out or a small gadget), you’re reminding yourself of the accomplishments you’ve made. Saving without goals and without rewards is far too daunting and makes you more likely to go back to spendthrift ways.
Learning to save money is hard, but when you start slowly and confidently, you will develop the skills to make saving automatic.
How do you stay motivated when it comes to saving money?
|Christina Brown is the creator of Northern Cheapskate, a blog dedicated to frugal living through coupons, freebies, and money-saving ideas. She lives in the rural north woods of Minnesota where she clips coupons, pinches pennies, and chases her three boys (a 7-year-old and twin 5-year olds) as a stay-at-home mom.|