How to Save Effortlessly
The human brain is hardwired to look for quick rewards.
While this might have helped our ancestors beef up for winter and was probably a major element in our survival, it doesn’t help you avoid the Krispy Kremes at the monthly staff meeting and it certainly doesn’t help your savings account grow.
If you have a hard time squirreling away extra savings, don’t be hard on yourself. Rather, outsmart your own primal urges and trick yourself into growing your savings account effortlessly.
Pretend the money doesn’t exist.
One of the most foolproof methods for tricking your survival instincts into saving extra money is to make it go away before you really have it. Once you’ve established your monthly budget to include all the necessities plus a little “fun money”, portion your checks automatically into two different accounts. Some companies will automatically do this for you, but if they don’t, consider having everything go into your savings account with a bank automated transfer to your primary checking that covers your budget.
If you feel like you won’t be able to resist the temptation, another strategy is to go through the tax man. Simply file your taxes in such a way that guarantees you a nice little nest egg at the end of the year. While you won’t accrue any interest on this money, it’s truly an easy way to make sure you keep your mitts off it until your savings roll in as a nice fat return check. Lastly, recognize that a penny saved is truly a penny earned. Some banks will round up your debit purchases to the next dollar and automatically transfer that amount into your savings. If your bank doesn’t do this, don’t fret, there are a ton of new apps flooding the market that do the same thing. We promise 18 cents won’t hurt at the time—and it will definitely add up by the end of the year.
Hold yourself accountable
For some people, accountability, rewards, and punishment work far better than tricky mind games. If you have something that is deeply important to you that you’ve decided to save for, consider nicknaming your savings account to remind you what you're sacrificing for. That way when you go to transfer funds and see ‘Thailand or Bust’ staring back at you, you might be convinced to go without a little extra pocket change.
Another method is to team up with your partner and set accountability check-ins with purchases over a set amount. If you need to tell Bae that you're going to go ahead and buy that $150 pair of shoes or upgrade the television, you’re likely to make more considerate choices.
Lastly, if you’re the competitive, numbers driven type, consider playing a little math game to see just where those savings account interest rates will get you with x amount in 1 year, 5 years, 10 years and so on.
Regardless of what method you find works best for you, the most important thing you can do is pick one and stick to it. Far too many people live paycheck to paycheck—a situation that can be dangerous and anxiety-inducing to say the least.
Creating a savings is not only a monetary investment—it’s a clear, intelligent action for guaranteeing a personal safety net and pushing you toward bigger and better things.