7 Steps to Make Saving a Habit
Habits are all about the principle of human inertia: we tend to keep doing what we’ve always done and shy away from doing something new. That principle may work against you at first. If you’re not used to saving money, it can be hard to get started. But once you gain some momentum, it’ll be relatively easy to keep it up. We all need to save money to meet our financial goals. If you haven’t started saving or aren’t saving enough, here are some tips:
Take full advantage of payroll saving plans. Automatic payroll deduction is, without doubt, a great financial innovation. With just a few strokes of a pen on an authorization form, you hook yourself up to a savings program that works for you without any more effort. It doesn’t matter what type of plan it is or how much you deposit. Just get started, and you have a new habit.
Aim to max out on company matches. When a company offers you a matching contribution, it’s like they’re saying, “Here’s some free money. Want it?” What argument can anyone make to turn it down? The only conceivable one is that you need all your money to pay bills.
Treat saving like a bill. The old adage for saving is, “Pay yourself first.” It makes perfect sense, and the trick is to treat saving like any other bill. Name an amount and a date to pay it, and make the payment when it comes due. Instead of driving to the bank, you can mail your deposit in or transfer the money online or over the phone.
Set up automatic checking debits. Many financial institutions offer automatic withdrawals from your checking account into your savings account, money market, or other investment account. These automatic withdrawals are as good as payroll deductions at making saving easy.
Set annual goals for account balances. You can never reach a goal if you don’t have one. Specific annual targets for account balances become incentives to save; and by dividing the difference between your current balance and target, you can easily find the periodic amount you’ll need to contribute.
Devote your raises to savings. When you get a raise, don’t forget to increase your savings. If you can afford to, bank the entire raise. If not, at a minimum, increase your savings proportionally.
Save your loose change. Keep a savings jar and at the end of the week, put your loose change in it. This can mean more than coins. It can be bills below any denomination you choose, like anything less than a 10- or 20-dollar bill. At the end of the month, take it to the bank.
Saving is all about discipline — denying yourself immediate gratification in favor of securing your future. For some people, this is instinctively difficult; but at some level, it’s a challenge for everyone. Following these seven steps can take some of the pain out of creating a new habit or adjusting an existing one to help you pursue your goals.
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This newsletter was prepared by Integrated Concepts Group, Inc. The opinions expressed in this newsletter are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific investment advice or recommendations for any individual. It is suggested that you consult your financial professional, attorney, or tax advisor with regard to your individual situation. The views expressed are those of the author and may not necessarily reflect those held by PlanMember Securities Corporation. Material presented is believed to be from a reliable sources and PSEC makes no representation as to it accuracy or completeness.