When it comes to saving more money, there are two sides to the equation – incomes and expenses. One way to increase your income is by bringing in additional revenue. This is usually achieved when you receive a pay raise at work, switch to a higher paying job, earn more on your investments, or create a new income stream such as a side gig or freelance work. So, you earn more, but how do you learn to save more money?
The most significant barrier to larger savings balances usually comes on the expenses side. In order to save more money, you must learn to spend less. But, that’s easier said than done. Advertisers are constantly bombarding you with messages designed to make you spend your hard-earned money. And, no matter how hard people try, everyone eventually gives in sometimes to impulse purchases.
Bottom line? It’s more about spending less than earning more.
One of the best ways to overcome temptation is to get rid of the trigger. If you’re trying to lose weight, a successful strategy is to eliminate unhealthy foods from your home. While you could still go out and buy food, what you’re trying to avoid isn’t easily accessible. Instead, you have to decide to go to the store or restaurant to pick up the food. In other words, you put a barrier between you and the food you’re trying to avoid.
This same strategy works wonders when trying to save money. You simply need to put a barrier between you and your ability to spend. It’s much easier to overcome the temptation to splurge when your money isn’t as accessible.
So, how do you do that?
Ways to Make Your Money Less Accessible
The problem with a regular savings account is that it’s easily accessible. Meaning, you can quickly transfer funds into your checking account or withdraw money at an ATM.
The trick is to open a separate savings account that you cannot readily access. At Money FCU, we offer multiple separate savings accounts. We can even hide them from your online banking so you literally cannot even see them. This way, you can make regular deposits and allow your balance to grow untouched.
Your money will still be there in case of an emergency, but it won’t be available to spend day to day.
Switch to a money market account.
A money market account is similar to a savings account, but it usually requires a minimum balance to earn dividends and has limited withdrawal capabilities. You can typically make up to six withdrawals or transfers per month. As a result, you’re less likely to constantly dip into this account for frivolous spending.
You will also typically earn higher dividend or interest rates from your financial institution because money market accounts are somewhat restricted. So, this is a great opportunity to save money and earn more simultaneously.
Consider a certificate account.
A Savings Certificate Account (or certificate of deposit) allows you to lock up your money for a designated time period. Here, we offer terms from 12-60 months. During that term, you cannot access the funds without a penalty. It’s this feature that makes certificate accounts so popular – they force you to save!
Another benefit is that certificate accounts tend to pay significantly higher dividends or interest than traditional savings or money market accounts. The downside is that you cannot add more money once the certificate is opened. Instead, you can open several certificate accounts to stagger your money, which is a great investment strategy on its own.
Put more into investments.
If you currently have a portion of your paycheck automatically deposited into a retirement account, consider increasing the amount. Even a slight increase can boost your retirement savings significantly over time.
The trick is to make the increases gradual, so you can easily adjust your budget to the drop in regular income. Since retirement accounts have limited withdrawal capabilities, you know you won’t be tempted to spend those funds.
The best way to ensure you save regularly is to automate the process. Payroll deduction is the ideal option for automating your savings because it’s tied to your pay schedule. So, each time you receive a paycheck, the amount you designate will automatically transfer into your savings account. Think of it like paying yourself first.
Automatic transfers are a similar option. However, with automatic transfers, you choose the date for the transfer to occur instead of it being tied to your paycheck. Both options require minimal effort on your part. Once they’re set up, your savings just grows automatically!
Remove your credit and debit cards from online stores.
Most retail stores like Amazon, Old Navy, Target, etc., make it easy to shop online. They offer to store your credit card information for the next time you’re on their site. That way, all you have to do is add to cart and click buy. So, if you remove your cards from your account, you might be less tempted to buy. You’d have to get up, find your card, then enter all of the information. Perhaps entering your card information doesn’t seem too difficult, but it may stop you from mindless shopping by making it harder to finish the transaction.
The easiest way to spend less is to carry cash, and only spend what you have. Debit and credit cards make it very easy to overspend because you don’t “see” the money leaving. You just swipe and go. Spending cash makes you realize how much you’re spending. It’s the physical act of letting go of the cash that makes it real. So, if you have a budget of $100 for groceries per week, take $100 in cash to the store. Once it’s gone, it’s gone. It will also force you to track what you’re actually spending as you go, making impulse buys much less likely.
We’re Here to Help!
Finding ways to save more money can be challenging at times. By making your savings less accessible, it will be easier to overcome the temptation to spend money frivolously.
If you’re interested in exploring additional account options or would like to automate your savings, we’re here to help. Call, text, chat, or stop in M-F, 9am-4pm ET. (315) 671-4000.
Each individual’s financial situation is unique and readers are encouraged to contact the Credit Union when seeking financial advice on the products and services discussed. This article is for educational purposes only; the authors assume no legal responsibility for the completeness or accuracy of the contents.