How to save up money?
Have you ever felt intimidated just by the thought of wanting to make a big purchase, like a house or a car? You may say it’s because the very idea is too ambitious or unrealistic, or simply because you don’t know where you should start when it comes to preparing for this huge buy. Today, we are here with Melanie Lockert, the author of Dear Debt and the founder of Lola Retreat, with advice and insights for the financial concerns you may have about budgeting, saving and spending.
1. “My goal is to buy some big items like a house or a car over the next couple of years, but I can’t stop spending my money whenever I get my paycheck…”
Melanie: If you have a big goal like buying a house or a car but feel like money leaves your hands as soon as you get it, start putting barriers in place so you don’t spend more than you need to. Stop using credit cards and only use cash or debit cards. Delete payment information on all online stores and delete apps that encourage you to spend more. Ask yourself why you keep spending money. Is it boredom? Out of sadness? To try and keep up? Know your big goals and reach them by making the day-to-day more affordable when we think on how to save up money.
2. “I realise I keep spending on things that I don’t want, most of the time I just buy them out of impulse and then I feel guilty for that…”
Melanie: If you can, return the items or sell them online secondhand. Create a list and write down things you don’t mind spending money on. Track your expenses for 30 days and next to each expense put a happy or sad face next to it. This will help you identify what things you need to cut out. Identify your spending triggers and start to change your behaviour. For example, if you always go to Starbucks because it’s on the way to work, find a new way to go to work. Understand your triggers and change course.
3. “Everything I buy seems essential to me and I don’t know where I should start cutting down my budget…”
Melanie: The essentials are food, shelter, transportation and healthcare. Aside from that, your other expenses are likely “wants” and not “needs”. You can cut down from the wants category. Obviously, you don’t want to cut back everything if you don’t have to, so assess what brings you joy and makes your life easier and what doesn’t.
*Click here to see 5 Ways to Cope with Money Worries
4. “I don’t know if I’m setting too ambitious financial goals for myself…”
Melanie: Here’s the thing. Even if your goal is “too ambitious” you’ll still go further than if you set no goals at all. So set a big goal and work towards it as best you can. If you don’t meet it, don’t feel guilty. Be happy with all of the progress you made.
5. “I don’t know where and how to start saving towards my financial goal, especially for big purchases…”
Melanie: Open up a separate savings account for a big purchase. If you can, nickname the account. Set up automatic transfers from checking to savings. That way you don’t even have to think about it. Find out how much you need to save and in what timeline. Divide the amount by number of months and you’ll know how much you need to save every month. Do what you can to reach that goal and stay focused on the bigger picture which is very important on how to save up money.