This time, for real.
Vacations, a charitable donation, that great new outfit, or just making rent—odds are, you have a reason to save money. And while you can find millions of sources (literally) on ways to save a little extra, each method has one thing in common: your resolve.
Saving money can be difficult. Yes, there can be challenges and setbacks. But if you have a plan, commit to it, and have someone hold you accountable, you can reach your goals.
Step 1: Have a Plan
As with most things, saving money takes time but pays off. Having a plan for how much you’re going to save and how you’re going to reach that amount will help you get there. Try a financial plan that splits your one desired goal into multiple smaller steps.
For example, if you want to set aside $100 per month, break it into chunks. Set up automatic transfers that move $25 from your checking to savings account every week. It’s a small enough amount that you’ll barely notice it moving from one account to the next, and is easier than watching your checking account take a $100 hit. Plus, watching your savings account balance move up incrementally feels more rewarding and can keep your goal-reaching momentum going.
Step 2: Have a Budget
Your budget is your financial plan taken to the next level. Know what you’re spending every month, and find where you can cut back—because there are almost always places to cut back. This will help you define your needs versus wants, which can stop you from making unnecessary purchases.
It’s easy—and common—to feel bombarded by all the different ways to spend money (online shopping, anyone?). But with your budget in mind and focus on your goals, you can withstand the temptation to buy those “little things,” like your second $5 coffee of the day.
When you feel an oncoming impulse buy, weigh its importance with meeting your savings goal. If you can spare the funds for an impulse purchase, consider putting its amount toward your goal instead. Even a few dollars will add up quickly, and you’ll be putting them toward something you know you want.
Step 3: Have a Buddy
In most cases, goals are easier to reach when you have someone holding you accountable for them. Set up regular checkpoints with a family member or friend and ask them to see how your savings are going—and be honest about your progress. If you’re dreading the question or don’t want to tell anyone how it’s really going, there are probably improvements to be made.
That said, don’t make yourself miserable or isolated at the expense of reaching your goals. Self-control is exhaustible, so holding back from everything you enjoy can eventually lead to letting yourself go too far. Just stay focused on your goal and know your limits. Budget for miscellaneous expenses, like an after-work drink with friends or a night at the movies. (Added tip: Make these fun purchases while with your budget accountability partners to ensure you don’t overspend.)
Step 4: Have the Right Bank Account
Your bank likely offers multiple savings options. Plains Commerce, for example, has standard savings accounts, certificates of deposit, Money Market accounts, and more. Each has its own benefits ranging from no minimum opening balance to higher interest rates than standard savings accounts. Put your money to work for you in a safe, secure account that gives you peace of mind and a return on your investment.
Find the account that fits your situation and can help you reach your financial goal.
Step 5: Have Resolve
Ultimately, saving money comes down to your resolve, not just making a single resolution. Like we said, there are countless ways to spend money—but rarely is anyone making you swipe your credit card or hand over your hard-earned dollars for those things you don’t need. Talk to a Plains Commerce personal banker about saving money and reaching your financial goals in 2018.