It’s that time where “New Year, New Me” posts fill our social feeds and companies are doing their best to get you to align your resolutions with their services. While overhauling your entire life is a little unrealistic, learning to manage your money and grow your savings is a great goal for 2019. While studies and experience have shown that most people forgo their New Years resolution within the first few months, this failure is generally due to a lack of planning and foresight. We’ve put together a list of money-saving tips to help you on your journey no matter where your finances currently sit.
Clear or consolidate your debts
Credit cards may seem like your friend when you’re lusting after that new purse or pair of shoes, but that innocuous piece of plastic can lead to a spiral of debt. Attacking any debt should be the first step to overhauling your finances. If you can’t afford to pay off what you owe in a lump sum, consider swapping out your card for a more economical option.
Many companies now offer fast small loans which carry far better interest rates and more favorable repayments, thus allowing you to put aside the extra money that would have been lining your bank’s pockets.
Know what you want
It’s always easier to save when you have an end goal in mind to keep you motivated. Perhaps you want a new car, or you’re working towards a deposit down for a house. Maybe you want financial stability and some cash on the side to cover unexpected expenses.
Each person’s goals are going to differ, but having a concisely defined end game is one of the most critical factors in any saving strategy.
Break it down
You should always separate your savings from your everyday bank account. The temptation to spend will be far higher if the money is easily accessible. Seeing a high bank balance when the bulk of your ongoing expenses haven’t been deducted lulls you into thinking that you have saved more than you really have.
If you have more than one savings objective, it can also be useful to split your funds into multiple separate accounts so you can more precisely divide your money and track your efforts.
Keep the change
If you’re having trouble putting aside high dollar amounts, it can be beneficial to start small. Instead of using your debit card for low to medium purchases, withdraw your spending money for the week and pay for things with cash. Not only will having to physically part with your money make you stop to consider whether you actually want or need the product but it will also mean receiving change.
Pick an amount that works for you and your budget and put aside anything that falls below it. For example, you may save all change you receive that has an individual value lower than five or ten dollars. This allows you to save without even really thinking about it and is a surprisingly effective tactic.
It is important to remember that your spending habits won’t change overnight, nor will your savings skyrocket immediately. Building a nest egg takes a concerted effort but if you quit just because it’s hard you leave yourself at risk of financial peril.
Start by clearing or minimizing your debts, create a realistic budget and go from there. If you’re serious about saving and are willing to put in the work, your rising bank balance will be a reward all by itself, and when you reach your goals, you’ll see that those small sacrifices were worth it in the end.