Everybody says that they want to have a lot of money, right? Well if you want to have money, you need to start by saving it. This takes some serious determination and willpower, and it can be extremely difficult to stick to this plan when there are so many distractors. Despite how hard it can be to stay on the right path, there are a few ways that you can start saving money immediately that will not require you to constantly battle with your inner demons.
[Read: Unexpected Ways to Save Money]
Make it automatic
How many decisions do you make every day? Most of us suffer from something called decision fatigue, which means that you get exhausted from having to make so many important choices throughout the day. This being said let me make the first way that you can start saving money extremely simple. Pay yourself first, always. Make this automatic by getting offers for lower-interest rate debt consolidation loans. You can save thousands by consolidating your higher-interest debts into a single loan. Once you make one good decision rather than multiple in a haphazard manner, you will have the ball rolling and be able to move on to the next step. Decide how much you are able to save (or pay yourself first) each month and set up a direct deposit into your account. Set up that payment and forget about it. Treating yourself as a bill will pay off in dividends.
Get help and create a plan
Many people who do save have no plan for their end goal, which means that they are saving blindly rather than keeping their eye on the prize. Studies show that most of us spend less time planning how they will get by during retirement than we put into planning a vacation. Does that seem shocking to you? Well I hope it is a wake up call for you, as it was for me! Retirement is the most substantial amount of money you need in your lifetime, and most of us spend little to no time planning for it. On top of that, those of us who choose not to work with a financial professional save less than those who do seek out such advice to start saving money. Take the guesswork out of the process and meet with someone who can help guide you in the right direction. Having conversations with someone knowledgeable an help you feel more secure in what your money is going towards and ensure that you stick on the right path and start saving money.
Find creative ways to hold yourself accountable
You read that right, make it fun to start saving money! The majority of us enjoy spending because it gives us instant gratification and we do not have to delay this feeling for even one moment. Saving rather than spending is challenging because we do not get the same feeling of satisfaction as we do when we shop. Just like with Pavlov’s dogs, take the good feeling out of careless spending by writing down every single purchase you make. I did this when I first got my own apartment to track where my hard-earned money was going, and was shocked at how quickly and carelessly I spent it. This was a wake-up call for me and allowed me to be more in tune with my emotions while shopping. Instead of shopping purely for enjoyment and instant gratification, I tracked my purchases to ensure that everything I bought was necessary.
Connect with your future self
When you were little, did you have a goal “age” you could not wait to get to? For me, it was 18. I thought that at age 18 I would be so grown up, cool, and mature. One thing that many of us are guilty of doing, however, is thinking of our “future” selves as complete strangers. As a result, we do not feel an urgency to save. After all, that future you is not really you, is it? Just like childhood me turned into 18 year old me, you will age and you will need a savings account to draw from. One cool way to meet your future self is by using Merrill Edge’s Face Retirement program, in which you can upload your photo and see what you will look like as you age. Once you have met your future self, perhaps it will feel more real that the future is coming, and you do need to start saving money for it.
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Challenge yourself to face the pressures of every day spending so that you make the most rational decision possible. Recognize where you need to change and adjust your spending attitudes, and you will start saving money in no time at all.