Five Keys to Succeed at Saving in 2018
Make your resolution to save a success
The holiday season is so exceptionally stressful that The American Psychological Association opened a hotline to help people cope with unmanageable stress centered on major stress inducers: family, shopping, over eating and spending. According to an Entrepreneur.com survey roughly 60% of all Americans are stressed by the Holidays and the most common stress factor is finances. Following the gift giving season is the New Year, an opportunity to start anew, fresh and change bad habits. Not surprisingly reform of financial habits is one of the most commonly reported New Year’s resolutions. Every year many Americans resolve to take control of managing their money and save. By making changes to savings habits people can reduce stress and increase overall wellbeing. Realistically, not as many people who resolve to be better with money actually succeed but if you make a minimal effort early in the year and set yourself up for success you won’t be one of those people. Here are five keys to succeeding in your resolution to save money, and spend next year’s holiday season with less stress, over money that is; the in-laws are a different story.
1) Set goals
Start out with a goal to work towards like retirement, paying off a car loan, or building emergency savings. Savers who set goals are much more likely to be successful. Write down your goals and name your savings. Think about why you need to save and what you should prioritize.
2) Set up a savings account that you don’t have easy access to
In the fall of 2017 CNBC reported that 39% of Americans don’t have a savings account. If you fall into that group, set one up for yourself. You don’t have to have a lot of money to start saving but it’s crucial that you begin. Find a financial institution that works well for you; credit unions and local banks often have low opening balance requirements of $10-$25.
Having savings separate from your checking is important. It’s easy to lose track of your spending and if your checking and savings are linked you could easily use up your savings without even knowing it. Choosing a financial institution that is separate from where you have your checking account is the best idea and will make it harder to spend the money you are aiming to save.
3) Automatic Savings
This is probably the most important key to saving. Do it automatically. Have your paycheck directly deposited into your checking account and a percentage into your savings. It’s hard to spend money you never have your hands on and after you set up the automation with your financial institution you don’t have to do anything else. The money just goes there! You will be succeeding in your resolution without lifting a finger.
4) There’s an App for That
There are a lot of money tracking and budget apps out there. Choose one that works for you. Some apps, like Mint, will ask you to link credit cards, debit cards, loans, and investments to give you the big picture of your finances. By linking your cards you don’t have to spend any time entering what you spend every day. You will be able to see where and how much is being spent on bills, gas, and other expenses with simple graphs. You can manage your finances as a whole which you may not have been viewing as such before it was laid out for you. It’s like having a personal accountant that you don’t have to pay.
5) Pledge to Save!
While you’re using that smartphone to track your spending and manage your bills you can pledge to save through America Saves. Capstone is partnering with America Saves to start a Vermont Saves campaign which helps Vermonters learn healthy savings habits using through texts, emails, and events. Take the pledge and choose your savings goal, you will then receive a weekly text or email with tips based on your savings goal. Pledging makes you a part of a nationwide initiative to help Americans meet their savings goals and learn healthy savings habits to last a lifetime. Look for details on #VermontSaves coming up soon and #AmericaSavesWeek coming in February. If you would like more details about the Vermont Saves campaign please contact Laura Koes at firstname.lastname@example.org or 802-476-8483.
Savings can seem overwhelming and unattainable but you can start by taking small steps and not doing it alone. Through Vermont Saves you will have the support of a community of savers, like yourself, working towards their individual goals. Take the steps now while your resolution is still fresh in your mind and let 2018 be the year you started healthy savings habits and succeeded.