Now that the party season is well and truly over, millions of us are focused enthusiastically on our resolutions for the year ahead. A recent ING poll indicated that four in ten of us have financial goals to strive for in 2013 – and saving is topping the list of priorities.
With Aussies saving more than ever last year,according to ING DIRECT’s Financial Wellbeing Index, if you’re in the mood to revitalise your finances then you’re in good company.
So how do you keep that momentum throughout the next 12 months, once everything starts to feel like ‘hard work’? Here are a few tips to help keep your motivation levels running high in the longer term:
1. Be clear on your goal
It’s easier to put money aside if you’re saving for something specific, so rather than simply saying ‘I want to save more’, be clear on what you’re saving for. Whether it’s buying a new car, renovating your kitchen, taking a round the world trip or being mortgage free, having something to aim for is a great motivator.
2. Start as you mean to go on
Once you’ve decided on your savings goal, it’s time to figure out how to achieve it by putting a savings plan in place. Be realistic around how much you can save on a regular basis and how long it will take you to get there. Getting in the habit of saving regularly – even if the amounts are small – is more effective and motivating than doing so on an ad-hoc basis. It won’t take long before the deposits start to mount up.
Committing your savings goals to paper is a good start, but if you want to take it one step further then a vision board can help keep goals front of mind. Stick a picture of your savings goal in a place where you’ll see it every day for extra incentive to save!
4. Make it real
Bring your goal to life by naming your bank accounts to reflect what you’re saving for. Many banks these days give you the option to rename your account online so, instead of seeing “Savings Maximiser” when you log in, you’ll see your account balance for “Holiday to Europe” instead.
5. Keep track regularly & measure success
Your savings goal may involve a long term savings plan, so persistence is key! Keeping track of your savings regularly and seeing the progress you make as they start accumulating will help to keep motivation levels at a high.
Remember, saving doesn’t have to mean depriving yourself. Budget in a small reward whenever you reach a savings milestone, such as saving another $1000, so you have something to look forward to as you work towards your goal.