Eight days into 2018 and the New Year’s motivation to get back in shape or cross that trip to Thailand off your bucket list are still buzzing. Your vision board is full of really important things like “pay off student debt” and “join a local sangha for weekly mediation and community yoga.” So as you’re planning to make 2018 your most fulfilling year yet, we hope you’ve also considered building your savings—both so that you can make your 2018 vision board a reality and so that you begin to build savings into your financial health routine. Here are five tips to make savings feel not so intimidating:
Commit to a small dollar amount.
It’s just like working out. First you start lifting with the five pound weights, then the 10 pounders and within six months you’re deadlifting 80 pounds. Saving is a practice, like building a new muscle and requires a steady commitment. But start with $5 or $10 per paycheck and check in every three months to see if you can afford to save a little bit more. At the end of the year, you’ll start to see it add up.
Save $1000 for rainy days.
Most Americans don’t have $1000 in savings. And it’s this type of rainy day savings—the new engine for your car or the emergency root canal you need—that protect you during unforeseen and immediate cash needs. The small dollar amount you’re saving should be allocated toward your $1000 rainy day fund before the items on your vision board.
Budget weekly time for weekly budgeting.
Our parents used to call this balancing their checkbooks. Sounds old-school, right? But the benefit of making weekly time for budgeting is that you see exactly what you’re spending on a weekly basis—and exactly what you have left. This puts you more in touch with every dollar. You’ll start to notice your spending trends. Maybe you don’t spend as much money at Trader Joes that you think and can put that $50 surplus into savings. Which brings us to our next point:
Name every dollar.
Every last penny you make should be accounted for. Don’t leave a penny untraced—because usually it’s more than just a penny. It’s the $50 you’re spending at the nail salon or $18 at the dry cleaners you forget to factor into your budget. Naming every dollar empowers you to spend or save them so that your down payment for your Brooklyn Brownstone on your vision board becomes a reality.
Create community impact while you save.
We don’t usually do this, but we can’t help ourselves—(and since it’s our blog, after all =) If your vision board isn’t enough motivation for saving, what if you could give back to your community as you do? We have relationships with four amazing nonprofits that are part of our Community Chest Savings Program. For every dollar you save, we donate 1 percent annually to the organization of your choosing.