Saving comes easy for some, but it’s an impossible task for others. When I ask some friends about their savings, they sometimes cringe or tell me “I don’t want to think about that!” as if I asked them about a life-threatening disease.
The act of saving doesn’t have to be difficult or painful. If done right, saving can be a wonderful thing you can look forward to each month. A few years ago, I didn’t really take saving seriously, but after implementing some techniques, it’s something I now look forward to with each paycheck.
So how can we make saving easier to do?
Automate it. Most banks will allow you to automate your payroll account to deposit monthly to a savings account. Check with your bank to see if you can do this with your payroll account. Saving can be much easier if you don’t have to remind yourself to do it regularly.
Focus on the benefits. I’m currently saving up to buy a house within the next 2 years. Of course, the way to motivate myself is to think about that house, which I’ll consider as my sanctuary. I also think of the pride of home ownership and the beauty of living in the province. This makes me wants to say “Yes! I absolutely want to put money into that dream every month!”
However, other types of savings such as for an emergency fund or a retirement fund tend to be harder. Maybe because their purpose and benefits still seem a bit abstract. For these types of savings that you aren’t particularly fond of, focus on the feeling of security you’ll have when these savings are in order. From my experience, it feels great not to worry about losing my job or getting sick because I know my emergency fund is there to catch me when financial problems arise. Plus, I just feel so free not being pressured to work super hard. That feeling of freedom and security, I wouldn’t trade for the world.
Have a mantra. During tough financial times where I was forced to live paycheck to paycheck, I used to have a mantra that I would recite in my head every time I was tempted to spend on something frivolous. My mantra was “Every time I spend on a short term want, I give up a part of a long term dream.”
Get visual. It’s also more encouraging to save if you can actually see what’s going to happen when you accomplish your saving goals. For example, if you really want to save up for a trip to Paris, you can cut up pictures of France from a magazine and place them in an area you’ll look at regularly – whether it’s on your office desk or by your bed.
Note: The visualization doesn’t work for everybody, especially those who forget that action is needed to make things happen. Some get stuck in the visualization without doing anything about it. In those cases, it’s not visualization – it’s mere daydreaming.
Reward yourself. Break down your savings goals into milestones and have a reward for each milestone you reach. For example, if you want to save P100,000 in your emergency fund, you can reward yourself for every P5,000 or P10,000 you successfully stash away for it.
Rewards are important because you won’t feel too bogged down or tired, thinking that all you do with your money is save it. Without rewards, it’s easier to fall back on old spending habits when you get too tired of saving.
How much do you save each month? What do you do to make it easier for yourself?