Are you a spending monster who wished you were a saving technician? Or do you want to know how to teach your kids to become a saver rather than a spender? If you answered yes to either (or you are just so bored anything will do this minute), the article is for you.
Confession of the “ah ha” Money Saving Moment
I have to confess that I didn’t discover this secret until I was sitting in front of my computer with nothing to write about. I was staring at that white screen at the time and was actually thinking about golf. One thing led to another and when my mind wandered upon why I wanted to play so badly, it dawned on me that it was because of my good performance of late. My desire for golf was heightened by the success I was having. I wanted to feel good and golfing gave me that feeling. I was a recipient of positive influence.
Positive Influence in Becoming a Snowball Saver
Like a snowball rolling down a slope, positive influence can help give us a jump start along the path to prosperity. I still remember my first savings account and seeing my tiny account balance grow. The numbers were increasing at a snail pace, but they were definitely going up.
It was fun to see all those charts that trend upwards as I recall. I was young, but I already saw the benefits of saving. As the activity section was filled with transactions, I started associating the happiness to saving money. Not eating that candy bar the other kids had all of a sudden became okay. When I grew up, so did seeing all my friends buy high priced TVs without getting one myself.
Incorporating Positive Influence Into Your Daily Habits
If you are already a saver, then you agree that saving can be a source of happiness. If you are a spender though, then most of the usual advice of saving money won’t work because you just don’t see the benefit.
And don’t get me wrong. I know saving money is hard work, and I’m a saver by nature. Even if you try to save, it’s not uncommon to get to the end of the month with nothing left. And those funds you have sitting in that traditional savings account? Don’t expect them to grow astronomically, because interest rates are at an all-time low. If you are having trouble saving, then try to incorporate these money moves that will trick you into stashing away your hard-earned funds before you know it.
1. Establish a Envelope System
Stop swiping and start using cash. To implement the envelope system, you’ll need to come up with a plan for your money and allocate it to the appropriate envelope.
Say, for example, your monthly budget allots $200 for groceries, $50 for entertainment, and $100 for savings. You’ll need to stash those amounts away in envelopes as soon as the funds hit your hand. Once the money’s gone from the envelopes, you have to wait until the next pay period to access additional funds.
2. Use Automatic Deposits to Your Advantage
Not disciplined enough to follow the envelope system? Visit your payroll office to automatically have a certain amount from each check deposited into an alternative account. It’s best to go with an online account that’s not easily accessible to eliminate the urge to make withdrawals. The more steps it takes to withdraw money, the better.
3. Save Your Raises
Received a pay raise recently? Kudos to you, but don’t run off and accumulate more expenses – especially if you’ve lived comfortably on your existing income. Instead, save the excess income and watch how quickly it grows. A pay increase shouldn’t automatically equate to a lifestyle change, especially if you’re having a difficult time saving money. Even the smallest amounts, such as $20 each week, can add up rather quickly.
4. Stash Away Windfalls
How about those irregular sources of income, such as work bonuses and income tax refunds, that sometimes provide a slight boost to your cushion? Instead of blowing the money on expensive gadgets or a shopping spree, deposit it into an interest-earning account. But if you have a more demanding obligation that needs your attention, don’t hesitate to use your windfall wisely.
5. Keep The Change
Each time you spend money, set the change aside, and watch it grow. Once the month ends, tally up all your deposits from both your checking account (which can be kept on a spreadsheet) and your Ziploc bags. The amount you’ve accumulated may surprise you. Another note: this should be done after you’ve stashed away your set amount each pay period just in case your variable expenditures for the month are much lower than expected.
6. Pay Debts That No Longer Exist
While you may be a bit confused by the title, following this tip is a no-brainer. Once you’ve finally paid off those credit cards or auto loans, continue making payments as if you still owe on them. Instead of paying your lender though, put the payments into your bank account. This will help you quickly boost your savings rather than find other things to spend money on.
7. Build an Emergency Fund with a Savings Account
Start small, but start saving. Forget about investment accounts and any investments that may go down. Open an online savings account. Put some money in there, and start seeing that money grow.
8. Reward Yourself When You Make Milestones
Set some goals and as you reach them, give yourself a small reward. It could be a nice dinner with your loved ones or new golf clubs. Whatever it is, make sure to spend within your means.
9. Check Those Stats
Look at that account balance periodically. Let your family know how much money you saved since you started making an effort to increase your financial resources. You will feel good about the progress, and that in turn will help you save more.
The Hardest Part of All
Congratulations, because you already accomplished the toughest part of all this – finding out about it. Now all you have to do is start. Once that snowball begins to roll, it will just continue rolling and rolling.
Aside: Positive influence works extremely well with paying off debt too. That’s why the debt snowball method works even though you might actually be paying more in interest. Here is more information on what the debt snowball is.
This article originally appeared on MoneyNing.com.