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How to make saving a habit
Make saving money a habit with these easy tips!
The word “savings” gets thrown around a lot. Of course, you need to save to buy a house, send your kids to college, or save for your anniversary trip. But how exactly do you do that?
There are a lot of ways you can save money. Some include cutting back on leisure expenses or going over your subscriptions to cut down some spending. While these can be great ways to cut down your spending, it’s not necessarily saving unless you’re putting that money away somewhere. The easiest way to build savings is to make saving a habit.
A habit is defined as a regular tendency or practice built into your everyday routine. When it comes to making any practice a habit, you should keep it in front of your mind long enough that it becomes second nature – so you do it without even thinking about it.
So, how do you make saving a habit?
Pay yourself first.
At the beginning of the month, you pay your rent. Maybe your utilities or car payment. You’ve made paying these bills a habit. You remember it needs to be done once a month, on the first.
Consider your savings another bill – to yourself. Pay yourself x amount every month, along with your other bills. This is one of the easiest ways to get yourself into the habit of putting money into your savings.
Automating this process is an even easier way to get this done without even thinking about it. Many banks have some type of automated saving mechanism you can use, or an app like Plinqit, that can help you make this process seamless.
When first learning how to save, it helps to have specific goals in mind. When you visualize exactly what you’re saving for, especially if it’s something you really want, you’ll be much more motivated to drop money into your savings. Starting with smaller goals will allow you to reach them more quickly. In addition, it will allow you to experience the pinch of gratification that is necessary to demonstrate a successful saving experience.
Once you’ve had a few of these saving experiences, you can move on to bigger goals. This gradual process going well will continue to encourage you to keep saving because you continue to reap the rewards. This time it was a new phone. Next time it’s a down payment on a house.
Set and celebrate your goals.
Once you’ve set some of these bigger goals, you'll realize it may take a while to get there. That’s why it’s important to set benchmarks on your saving journey to make sure you keep track of how far you’ve come. It can also help reignite your motivation to continue saving your money.
After months of saving, looking at your account can be the psychological boost you need to up your monthly payment to your savings to get you there even faster. This is a form of positive reinforcement, to yourself.
Positive reinforcement is the act of creating positive psychological associations with specific actions. For example, looking at your savings after months of putting money away can act as positive reinforcement by giving you a glimpse at how hard work pays off, sometimes literally!
When doing anything that takes time, positive reinforcement and celebrating benchmarks are essential to keep your eyes on the prize.
Turn your habit into a lifestyle.
Saving for something fun – like a car or a vacation – is a great way to get you into the habit of saving; so that your habit eventually turns into a lifestyle of saving.
Having an emergency fund or retirement savings may not seem like a priority now, but there will be a time when you will need them. So, start getting yourself into the saving habit now, so you can train your brain on your own time, setting your future self up for success.
Mollie Macklin is the Digital Marketing Specialist at Plinqit and a content contributor for The Plinq. Mollie believes knowledge is power and enjoys creating valuable content for young adults navigating big financial decisions to help them create the lifestyle that makes them happy. Mollie also enjoys funny movies, traveling with her boyfriend, playing her Nintendo Switch, and hanging out with her cats in her free time.