SAVINGS, WILLPOWER AND GOALS
I talked earlier in the week about romancing the plastic and you can get your relationship back on track (there is a LOT more to talk about there, so keep watching!). Today, I want to talk about how you are sabotaging your future goals.
Now, don't get me wrong - this is something that I didn't manage to get my head around for some time (you can read that as ignored if we are all being honest here). How can some people save so easily, yet for so many of us, it's literally a wrestling match. Every year - top of the resolution list, it sat there.
This year, I will save more money. In fact, I will pay off all my debt. I will pay off all my debt AND save for a glorious holiday! This year, it's going to be different!
You get the picture. Saving seemed to be so elusive, I could make up all sorts of scenarios. They were just words. This concept of savings. It had me stumped.
If you sit in this group too, then read on friend, because once we start to understand our money mindset you can start dream. For those that are sitting there saying, hey but I don't earn enough to save. Perhaps you are the 'I go to every sale that hits, I cannot miss a bargin... but I also have no self control. That is rubbish. I will counter you with another thought. When is the last time that you tried to think about your money mind set? This isn't about blame, self-doubt, lack of smarts or control. It's most definitely not about avocado toast! It's about how you can think about your habits and values. At its core, it is goal setting.
Your new relationship
First things first. You need to engage with this new relationship. You need to keep an eye on you and what you do. With nearly a third of households without a savings account and according to the 2017 NFCC survey 20% of adults say that the current climate is stopping them from saving. If you're living from pay check to pay check then that's very likely how you feel. As soon as it comes in, it's gone.
This is why you need to pay close attention. Here is a different way of thinking about it. If you find that you suddenly put on weight, the first thing a personal trainer will say to you is start a food diary. See exactly where those calories are coming from. Money, isn't any different. If your money is disappearing super fast - then you need to work out exactly where it's going.
For a week, track your spending. Every time you flash the cash, write it down. Next, think about what you are doing and how you are feeling. Are you splurging because you had a crappy day and you deserve it?
Next, tally up the spending. What hasn't been really necessary? Circle out those payments that you made that you know you can easily cut back. If you limit your bought coffee - what could that savings amount to over the space of a month?
Eye on the prize
If you make plans to 'save loads for a expensive European holiday' you will probably fail pretty quickly. Instead, I want you to think about your values and goals. Don't think about what other people may expect from you or want. What do you REALLY want. Do you want a beautiful wedding with your dream dress? What about a beach holiday in Tahiti? Have a passion for fashion, is it a Gucci bag that you are coveting? Perhaps further study to land your dream job or you just cannot wait to get the keys to your dream house. Big or small, you will only ever achieve these goals if you break them down and plan out how long it will take you to achieve your goal.
The other part to this is keeping that money in your savings account. Seeing a mere $100 when you know you need at least $3,000 for your goal can be disheartening and cause you to spend now for that hit of instant gratification.
You have to make the decision, each and every pay that you are paying your future self. By keeping that money in your savings account, you are allowing future you to have that holiday. No matter how much you want to rebel you have to make the decision to keep that money in your account. You aren't bad at saving, you've just never chosen to push through those barriers.
Now, you may have noticed. I haven't told you to budget. You are simply putting aside the needless expenditure on a regular basis. Because you worked out an amount upfront, pay this directly into your savings account before you do anything else. You are paying your future self first!
Paying yourself first is just the first of many gestures you make towards showing yourself that you’re building a new savings habit. So choose an amount that’s ridiculously manageable for you. Maybe that’s $200/month or maybe that’s $25/month. Whatever that amount is, commit to it and treat it like it’s another bill. Add it to your budget. Don’t miss a payment.
Save for security
It's not all about saving for material objects or holidays. So, so many people say that they are one BIG bill away from a serious problem. Once you have shown that you can save enough to get yourself that pair of shoes you've been eyeing up for months, why not think about saving to make you feel free.
How much would it mean to you to know that you are safe from car or house bills. That if an emergency comes up, you've got this?
Thinking about how you want to feel in the future is just as (if not more) important than stuff. Don't get me wrong, stuff is great! It won't help fix a battery in a hurry though.
If you can switch your mindset to thinking about saving for freedom or security, it gives you a reason to walk away from that till or add a few more dollars into that savings account.
What do you save for? Or wish that you were saving for? What steps will you take to try something new?
Until next time,