I’m not sure if this is news to you or not. Americans, unfortunately, have a reputation for being horrible savers. I recently read a statistic that indicated that the average American saves about 4.5% of his or her income annually. If we want to achieve financial freedom and build wealth for the future, we have to do better. Point blank, period.
Most financial experts recommend that you save anywhere between 10 and 15% of your salary annually. But, if you are looking to achieve financial independence, or perhaps you are looking to retire early (or any other big financial goal) it’s going to be necessary for you to have a much higher savings rate than the recommended 10 to 15%.
For most of us, saving does not come naturally. Saving takes practice. If you’re paying off debt you might be intimidated by the thought of saving money and getting out of the debt at the same time. But I do believe that saving is a habit and that there are things we can do, even on a small scale, to begin to develop that habit today. I want to share 3 tips to help you save more money today.
Tip #1: Automate it.
Pick a small but consistent amount of money that you can save incrementally, weekly, per paycheck, or on a monthly basis. After that, set up an automatic transfer from your main checking account wherever your money is directly deposited into a savings account. I usually recommend that people begin with an online savings account because it’s much easier to keep your hands out of the pot if the money is out of sight and out of mind. Before you know it, you won’t even miss the dollar amount that is being placed into savings and the money will begin to accumulate quickly with very little effort.
Tip #2: Tip yourself.
Every time you do something awesome, give yourself an increase. If you spend two hours cleaning the house or doing laundry, take $2-3 and put it in a tip jar. Perhaps you got a paper submitted on time or a project done early for work. Tip yourself by putting $4-5 in a jar. As the money accrues, consider tossing it into your emergency fund, maybe into an IRA, or into a car savings fund. Or maybe you can use it towards your very first debt-free vacation. There’s actually an app out there that allows you to tip yourself electronically. I’ve never tried it, but I’ve heard good things about it. I like to keep things simple, so a simple tip jar on my desk gets the job done.
Tip #3: Create an “I deserve it” fund.
Have you ever been to the mall before and saw a pair of shoes that you absolutely loved but perhaps were not in your budget? To justify the purchase you tell yourself, “I work hard, I deserve these shoes”.
The next thing that you know, that debit card is coming out of your wallet, and the money is disappearing from your bank account. The money is now gone, never to be seen or heard from again.
But there are also times when you avoid that temptation and walk away from the store with your head held high with the $50 still in your pocket. Believe me, that’s an achievement within itself.
But maybe consider taking it one step further. Take that $50 or the dollar amount that you were getting ready to spend, and transfer it into your “I deserve it” fund. Every time you think to yourself “I deserve this item or this possession,” transfer that money into your “I deserve it” fund. Because more than any pair of shoes, any purse or any trip, you deserve to have financial freedom and financial peace.
How do you make saving a habit?