How to Start Saving Money - Even IF You've NEVER Been A Saver
When I was little I had an actual piggy bank. You know, a bank in the shape of a pig? It was black and had a pink flower on the side (I think, I was like...four?)
Stick with me here, I have a point. :-D
My mom and dad, and occasionally an aunt or uncle, would give me change or put change in the piggy bank. By “change” I mean pennies, maybe the occasional dime. But, the point was that the money in my piggy bank was “savings”. It was for “later”.
Fast forward, we’re all now adults and we still save for “later”.
No one ever actually tells you when “later” happens. But, we all know it will get here at some point!
The problem with saving for “later” is that it’s ** waves arms around awkwardly ** vague and squishy.
Which is why it’s hard to stick with it.
I pinkie promise you there is a better way!
[Are you already a pretty good saver, you’re just looking for MORE? Then, I humbly invite you to check out my Weekend Money Makeover Workshop. It’s a four-part video course of the advice I give my girlfriends - and even my girlfriends girlfriends! AND it’s FREE right now! Just GO HERE]
How to Start Saving - Even if You’ve Never Been a SAVER!
Successfully saving comes down to three simple rules:
- Have a goal - and I’m going to give you one to start with
- Start small - anything is better than zero
- Automate - as soon as you can!
We are going to chat about each one and get you Set UP!
Successful Savers have a GOAL
My first rule of saving is to have a GOAL. Like I said above, saving for “later” doesn’t work for us humans. It’s too vague. It doesn’t mean anything to our brains. When building habits, our brains work best with systems and specificity.
We’re goal-oriented organisms. We need to know WHY we are doing something or quite frankly, we don’t see a reason to bother. A savings account needs to be used for a specific purpose, a reason.
Setting a goal around your savings that gives it structure, purpose and specificity makes it far easier to stick with your plan. What’s more, you’ll know when you’ve hit the finish line and can do your best happy dance!
But, lemme backup and explain.
Let’s say, each June you go somewhere to sip a margarita and wiggle your toes in the sand. You’ve decided that next year, you and the fam are winging your way across the blue skies to the Big Island of Hawaii!
For simplicity’s sake, we’re going to say that you know from past experience your vacation costs about $2,400. (And if you know how to take a whole family to Hawaii for $2,400 please hook a girl up!)
You get paid twice a month for 24 times per year, so that means you need to save $100/paycheck.
Saving $100 from each paycheck for a vacation to Hawaii next June is much easier than simply “saving for vacation”. It’s the specificity that matters the most and gives your brain something to hook into and be excited about.
That $100 you’re setting aside has a job. It’s going to give you a great vacation next June. It’s not just a hundred bucks sitting in a savings account for “later”, taunting you to spend it.
It’s earmarked for a thing you’re really looking forward to <<<<<< and THAT is the special secret sauce! YOU are excited about it!
Adding that emotion and excitement to the mix is the spice and zing that helps you be a successful saver when you may not ever have been before!
If you really have a hard time saving, then I recommend selecting a “fun” goal for your first savings goal. The goal doesn’t have to be a vacation, it can be anything you want. Just be very specific about the what, the by when, and the how much and you’ll be off to the races!
But, in addition to making it fun, let’s talk about the second rule of saving: Start SMALL.
[IF THIS ISN’T YOU, IF YOU KNOW HOW TO SAVE YOU JUST NEED SOME POINTERS ON THE TYPES OF SAVINGS ACCOUNTS AND HOW MANY YOU NEED, GO READ THIS BLOG ON THE 3 SAVINGS ACCOUNTS EVERY GIRL NEEDS. I think it will help :-) ]
Start Small - Anything is better than ZERO
My second rule of saving when you’ve never been a saver before is to start small.
There really isn’t anything magical or even hard about the task of saving. It may be hard to tell yourself No about spending money, but the actual task of saving is easy. It’s the emotion around it that gets all of us.
At its base though, saving is just a habit you have to develop. To develop any habit, you need systems, specificity and, most importantly I think, some quick wins.
Some small, quick wins.
Like, SUPER small if this is really hard for you.
The first rule of saving is to Set A Goal. Let’s combine that rule with the second rule of Start Small to come up with a small goal that only takes a few hundred dollars to get you started.
A small goal that only takes a small amount of money could be saving for a girls weekend or that amazing bag you’ve been wanting. Or, maybe even dinner at the suuuper fancy restaurant with the valet and that amazing dessert menu you’ve been hearing so much about.
Remember our first rule: what you’re looking for is a specific goal for a specific amount of money, that also has an end point. Combined with our second rule of start small, your goal could look like this:
I’m going to save $25 per paycheck for six weeks so I can go to Fancy Pants Restaurant on May 31 with my two ride-or-die besties Julie and Liz.
Lookie there!! LOTS of specificity! And, there’s an amount, an end date, and a “thing” to look forward to!
[When you’ve set it and you’ve started, DM me on Instagram and let me know so I can celebrate with you!]
Here are a couple of scenarios I’ve seen beginner savers have success with. They aren’t attached to a specific goal, but they are a way to get started:
- If you need to start super small, then start by saving your change. Yep, your change. Pennies, nickels and dimes. Quarters FTW!
- Get a set amount of cash on your next payday and put it in your jewelry box. If you got $20 in cash each week for three months, at the end of three months, you’ll have saved approximately $260!
- Start with 1% of your net paycheck each pay period until you have one whole paycheck in your savings account. For extra bonus points, If you can, have your employer deposit it directly into your savings account
Now, for the last rule: Automate!
Automate and Save Your Life
In my humble opinion, the third rule of saving: Automate is THE Biggest and hardest step. At least, it was for me.
Because here’s the thing that I know about myself: If i can make sure the money I want to save never touches my greedy little fingers I am so much more likely to be successful!
And I’ve seen the same with my coaching clients. Bypassing their checking account and having the funds put directly into their savings account helped them be far more successful than when they transferred the money themselves.
Which is why encouraging everyone in the world to automate their savings is a hill I will die on!
By automating what you're saving each month you will be far, far more successful than if you have to manually transfer that money each month or even take the money to the bank.
Take the task off your plate completely, and watch that savings account balance GROW.
Automating your savings so you don’t have to think about it is one of my best tips for anyone trying to learn how to save or get in the habit of saving.
Especially, if you’re trying to form the habit of saving or are on a tight budget.
Set A Goal, Start Small, Automate
There you go! Three simple steps to become a saver, even if you’ve never been one before in your life!
- Set A Goal - it doesn’t have to be a BIG goal. Give yourself some training wheels with a goal that’s around $200-$400 and you’ll be riding that big girl bike in no time!
- Start Small - remember, anything is better than zero. Even $10-$25 per paycheck is an excellent place to start proving to yourself you can do this!
- Automate and “Save” your Life! <<<<<Did you see what I did there ;-) ;-) As soon as you can, have money moved to your savings account via automatic transfer by your bank, or have your employer direct-deposit it into your savings account straight away!
I truly hope these tips help you become the saver you have always wanted to be. If this works for you, or you have questions, reach out to me over on Instagram by DM. I love to help! (instagram.com/michellesemones)
If you want to keep on learning with me, have a look at one of the blogs below, too!
Hey! If you made it all the way down here, you must be a Reader like me! So, here are some more goodies for you to love on :-)
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