Over the past couple of months, I’ve been blown away by the number of people who’ve decided that 2009 is the year when they’re going to start saving – and, as a consequence, looked me up. I met with three just this morning! Unfortunately, no matter how much they want to, many people feel discouraged from saving because their incomes and/or portfolios have dropped lately. The good news is, you can still save! Use the simple steps below and, as the title suggests, make savings easier done than said!
- Set a goal. As with any commitment, a clear, concrete goal (i.e. a down payment for a home or retiring at 50) is the first step.
- Pick a number you can afford. Saving is a bit like dieting: if you push too hard, you will fail. If you can only spare $50 per month, let it be your intention to save $50.
- Make it automatic. Not only can saving be dreary, with all the pleasures you have to surrender, but it is easy to forget, too. Fortunately, there’s an easy fix. Set up an automatic transfer from your checking account to your savings account. Done!
- Cash in on free money. If your employer offers to match contributions to your 401(k), take him or her up on it! It’s free money, and in the best of places because it will grow tax deferred for years and years to come.
- Regain strength from frequent reminders. It takes a lot of willpower to give up pleasures in the present for a better life in a distant future, and inevitably, there will be times when you feel discouraged. When this happens, regain the motivation by revisiting your goals.