The holiday season has officially come to a close, and consumers are kick-starting the new year with new goals and resolutions to enjoy a prosperous 2018. ‘Saving more money’ is often found on many resolution lists, with many aiming to improve their financial standing or to put away for a major expense like international travel or purchasing a new car, or simply building up an emergency fund.
However, it can feel challenging to stick to personal savings goals – and that goes beyond contributing to your employer-sponsored retirement plan. While contributing to your retirement accounts is highly encouraged for long-term needs, it’s still just as important that you have money saved away that you can easily access for short term needs.
My 2018 New Year’s resolution challenge to you is to start paying yourself first.
That means paying towards your future self, and you should treat it as important as paying your monthly bills and expenses.
To achieve this, follow these three easy steps to kick-start the year for financial success.
1.) OPEN A HIGH INTEREST SAVINGS ACCOUNT.
Online banks typically offer savings accounts with higher interest rates than traditional banks. NerdWallett offers a list of top rated online banks offering high yield personal savings accounts. Choose an account that offers a minimum interest rate of 1.30%, the most competitive interest rate in the current market.
Furthermore, open a savings account at a different bank from where your checking account is housed; this will eliminate any potential temptations to easily use the funds for things outside of your goals or emergency needs. Out of sight, out of mind!
2.) SET UP RECURRING AUTOMATED SAVINGS TO THE ACCOUNT.
Whatever you’re saving for, set a goal of how much you need to save by a specific time. Then, set up automatic recurring contributions to your savings account. You can do this by adjusting your direct deposit form through your HR department or by setting up automatic deductions from your checking account.
How much to save each month? Start with your end goal in mind. For example, if you want to save $1,000 by December 2018 for holiday shopping, set up 12 consecutive months of automated recurring contributions of $84 into the high interest savings account starting January 2018.
3.) CUT BACK ON CONVENIENCE SPENDING.
A simple way to add even more to your personal fund is by cutting back on convenience spending, such as ordering coffee or take-out lunch. While each individual expense may seem small (“that cup of coffee is only $2.50”), it adds up significantly over time. Instead, consider saving the money you would’ve spent on these little conveniences and watch your personal savings grow closer toward your goal.
THE BOTTOM LINE:
2018 is the time to start paying yourself first!
Automate your savings before spending on anything else. Your future self will thank you for it!