No matter where you are in life, you should always be saving because there is always something important to be saving up for. If you have already paid off your debt or even if you’re in the midst of paying off debt, it’s important to have an emergency fund in case of, well, an emergency.
And even if you’re not saving up for an emergency—which could include a medical crisis, a car accident, or worse—there’s plenty of other things that you need to save money for.
If you’re under 18, you should be saving for college. If you’re in college, you should be saving for your first car. If you’re in your 20’s, you may need to be saving for a car or a wedding or a down payment on a house. If you’re in your 30’s, you might need to save to have a baby. And if none of those fit your needs, you should always be saving for retirement.
When you think of everything that you need to save up for, it may seem overwhelming and never ending. So how will you ever save up for all these items? Here are three tips to help you save.
Separate your money
Keeping your savings account in a different account from your checking makes it much easier and less tempting to sneak money out of your account. It’s like a candy bowl; studies have shown that participants would eat more candy if it was sitting on a bowl on their desk rather than hidden in a drawer. It’s the same way with money.
Also, online accounts such as ingdirect.com generally offer better interest rates than your local brick and mortar bank. You can set up an automatic withdrawal on payday from your checking into your savings—something Ing Direct also offers. This way you never feel like you have the money to spend anyway because it’s automatically taken out of your account.
Live off less than your paycheck
If you were a starving student and you get your first paycheck at your first grown-up job, it may seem really easy to simply upgrade your lifestyle—after all you deserve it, right? The trick to finding true financial security is to live off less than your paycheck and not to upgrade your lifestyle every time you get a raise.
So when do you get to enjoy the fruits of all your hard labor? After you’ve paid off debt, created a savings fund and are contributing as much as possible to retirement. That’s not to say you need to live like a pauper, but it helps a lot by not splurging on unnecessary items like a BMW, when a Prius will do the job just as well or buying a six-bedroom house that you’ll have to furnish (and clean!), when it’s just the two of you and you don’t plan on having kids.
Having fun goals
It’s true that we have a lot of financial obligations—cars, houses, retirement, education—that require a lot of our valuable financial resources. But it’s important to remember that we only have one life to live. If traveling is important to you—as it is to us—you can still travel if you’re on a budget, you just need to put it in your budget. Find ways to make your fun goals a reality. Even if it means breaking it down into smaller chunks, like $25 a week. There’s always a way to meet your financial goals, if you save.