A question I often get after someone files bankruptcy, or after they are discharged from bankruptcy, is “how do I start saving money?” Once someone has been in debt, and have gone through the steps to get out, they never want to get into debt again. So this is a legitimate question. It’s good to have a savings account in case of emergencies or to use for splurges in life.
The problem with most saving strategies is they’re hard work. You have to think a lot and you have to change habits.
Therefore, it’s far better to have a saving strategy that doesn’t require you to think about it once it’s in place.
Here’s how to do it:
Set your end goal – why are you saving?
Motivation is powerful. Program yourself to focus on achieving something you want, whether that’s a thing you want to buy or have or the feeling you want to experience when you reach your goal. If you can make it into a visual and put it somewhere you’ll see every day (on a mirror or on your fridge) you will be more likely to remember the reason for saving and stick to your goal.
Set your rate – how much will you save?
This could be a percentage or an amount. It’s up to you. Just make sure that whatever you decide, it’s achievable. You don’t want to have to dip into your savings prematurely. But still be ambitious with your rate.
Automate paying yourself first – schedule bank transfers
It’s important to make saving thefirstthing we do instead of the last. Better yet, let’s make it so we don’t have to do anything to make it happen (after the first time, that is). Set up an online bank account that you’ll use for saving and schedule a deposit for the day after pay day. The money will go directly into your savings and you won’t even have to think about (and you may not even miss it).
Isolate your savings – make the saving account hard to get to
Once you’ve started saving, you need to make these savings as hard to get to as possible. You can do this by disconnecting the savings account from any cards and online banking systems. That way, if you really want to get some of your savings out, you’ll have to physically go into a branch to withdraw from the account.
Celebrate – when you reach a goal, reward yourself!
To make saving feel satisfying, you may need to celebrate every once in a while. Set saving milestone goals that allow for some splurge spending(but be careful to make the splurge small enough so it doesn’t make a huge dent in your progress). Make sure the milestone is fairly high so you aren’t “celebrating” too often.
If you follow these steps, you’ll be sure to have a savings account that you’re proud of in the near future.