You know you should save money. You might even know how much to stash. But why doesn’t it always happen? Why can’t you seem to stay disciplined and accountable when it comes to saving money for the future?
One. Don’t feel bad, it’s not easy (until it is.) Two. We live in a world that cherishes stuff and looking cool and buying things we can’t afford. And three. It’s not as fun as spending (until it is.) And yes, those two (until it is)’s I threw in there are 100% fact. At first, saving money isn’t easy and it’s not fun. BUT it eventually becomes BOTH.
You know what saving money reminds me of? Working out. Ugh. It’s true though. Both take Discipline. Accountability. Consistency. Planning. And a slew of other “adult words.” But let me tell you, they both also come with Energy. Joy. Accomplishment. and Reward.
So what are some money-saving hacks you can use in your everyday life to hold yourself more accountable? Read the 7 Hacks below…
1. SAVE MONEY ON PAY DAY
Can’t stress this one enough. Pay YOURSELF first. As soon as you get paid, transfer money to your savings account. OR set it up with your work to have it automatically go there. (I like the feeling of manually transferring it. But that takes another layer of discipline!)
You may come up on the last few days before you get paid again and feel a bit of pressure. But that’s okay! As your spending money decreases, you’ll make smarter choices on purchases you may not need. You might skip the peanut butter pretzel bites at Trader Joe’s, the appetizer at happy hour, and you can make due with what’s at home before you buy a new case of beer. That’s money saved! And if you end up running into a need, it’s a simple transfer (the amount you need—no extras!) back over.
Bonus: if you don’t have a separate savings account, do that immediately. Don’t have your spending money and savings in the same account. It’s screams SPEND ME! And if you are reaaaallly bad at saving money, then think about opening a savings account at a completely different bank.
2. TRACK YOUR SPENDING
You know how people recommend food tracking in order to lose weight and stick to a diet? Well, the same can be true for money. Write down everything you spend money on in a little journal, whether it’s $1 or $1,000, and you will 100% be more mindful about what you buy. I recommend physically writing it out—typing it rarely has the same effect.
You’ll avoid the dumb trinket, extra bottle of wine, and random snack because you won’t want to write it down. Something about the act makes it very real. And while we’re on the topic of writing things down…
3. WRITE DOWN GOALS AND REMINDERS
I get made fun of for how much I put pen to paper. But I am a firm believer that if you write it down, you not only remember it, but the universe grabs hold of it and uses its powers to help make it happen. Write down goals for how much you want to save each month (or each paycheck if that’s more your style), AND how much you want to save by the end of the year. This could be in your planner, the calendar on the wall, a journal, a sticky note stuck to your closet, anywhere!
And then take it a couple steps further with reminders of those goals.
- Set alarms on your phone to sound on payday—transfer $150.
- Make a daily note in your planner—check my account balance. I’m serious, do this. It takes 1 minute and helps tremendously.
- Throw sticky notes up in random spots of the house like inside your spice drawer cabinet or the bottom of the chocolate drawer (you know you’re always seeing the bottom of that.) Write things like SAVE MONEY or YOU’RE A MONEY SAVER! for quick little pep talks.
4. BUILD A REWARD SYSTEM
Saving money takes discipline and accountability. Reward yourself for showing up for yourself! Maybe every $250 you save, you get your favorite venti double cupped no sleeve vanilla latte with two pumps of lavender. Lol. Or every month you hit your goal, you splurge on the $20 bottle of wine instead of the $12. Whatever works for you! Bonus: it’s even better if you can come up with rewards that don’t cost money. Maybe it’s a guilt-free day binge-watching Netflix. A bath with candles. A phone-free stroll at the park. Anything that makes you feel good is a reward!
5. FIND AN ACCOUNTABILITY PARTNER
Saving money IS a lot like working out, huh? YEP! So if you can’t seem to save money on your own (you’re not alone), then get your best friend, boyfriend, husband, girlfriend, mom, Starbucks barista, to check in on you and your savings. A simple “yo, transfer the money or else” text on payday is all it takes. You may be able to talk yourself out of saving this month, but your best friend ain’t gunna let it fly.
6. CREATE A CHART OR CHECKLIST
Pretend you’re 8 years old and your mom just introduced you to your newest chore chart. Every time you feed the dog (aka transfer to savings), it’s a gold star! (You can probably switch to checkmarks now.)
Seriously though, there’s something satisfying about checking off a to-do list. You feel motivated to get it done and accomplished once you do. Super helpful when starting to get into the money saving habit.
7. WEEKEND CASH HACK
Are you someone who does really well all week with not spending unnecessary money but then the weekend comes and you’re all let it raaiiiin! If you are (that used to be me), then my favorite hack is to start pulling out cash on Friday’s and that’s what you’ve got!
Take $100 (or whatever amount you can afford) and go out to dinner, grab a drink, waltz around Target, whatever you want. But you’ll be more mindful of how much money you actually have to spend. PLUS (this is the best part), spend ALL OF IT GUILT-FREE. Because the money you have is what you have already determined is what you can spend!
Money Saving Hacks
All right, guys. Money saving made simple with a few accountability hacks! You can do no wrong!
I’m kidding, you probably won’t be perfect. And that’s okay. But get a plan together, use one or three or all of these hacks, and you are much more likely to save money than if you’re just throwing random $50’s at the account every so often.
- Do it on pay day
- Track your spending
- Write down goals and reminders
- Build a reward system
- Find an accountability partner
- Create a chart or checklist
- Weekend Cash Hack
And now you’re all excited and ready to save money but you’re thinking, wait…
How Much Do I Save?
In an ideal world, save 20% of what you’ve got coming in if that’s possible. That’ll add up quiiiick! If you can’t afford that right now, that’s okay. Any amount is better than $0—especially when it’s happening consistently. For more, read How I Save $10,000 Per Year to Travel Part 1: A Simple Budget. You’ll know in a few minutes not only what to save, but what your needs and wants add up to as well.