I started talking about this a little bit a few days ago... but I just really like talking about building habits and making changes in your life, so we're going to chat about it again. But this time, more related to finances! ;)
But first, I will give you a glorious beach selfie from this past weekend. Mike and I spent a few hours at Lake Ontario on Saturday and found (evidently) the PARTY BEACH. (this pic was taken before the beach was invaded with young 20-somethings)
Picture this: Mike and I are sitting by ourselves, I'm under my beach umbrella (not tryna get wrinkles at age 25, duh) and reading I Will Teach You To Be Rich (really good so far- definitely recommend). Meanwhile, our neighboring beach goers were congregating in packs of 10+, playing beer pong and slap the bag- they actually even offered us some boxed wine! They were most definitely NOT hiding from the sun or reading a personal finance book. Sometimes I feel really old.
Anyway. Moving on to the actual point of today's post.
Have you ever said:
"I'm going to save 30% of my income this month!"
(when you're currently saving 0%)
"I'm going to contribute 10% of my income to my 401k!"
(when you haven't even opened the 401k account)
"I'll pay off my student loan debt in 6 months!"
(when you owe $50k and don't even bring in that much in income in 6 months)
Those are all great goals, and I applaud you for shooting for the stars.
But honestly, you're probably setting yourself up for failure in those instances. For me- and probably many of you, too!- smaller, more manageable goals are much better than BIG goals. Big goals are overwhelming and wayyyy too easy to slip up on.
(Note: yeah, yeah, there might be a few people out there who do BETTER when they set huge, seemingly unrealistic goals-- but I am def not one of them!)
So let's talk about some totally manageable little goals that can get you on track to spending less and saving more:
- Set up a $10 or $20 automatic allotment from your paycheck directly into your savings account. Even a tiny amount is better than $0! Once you are used to contributing $10 or $20, bump it up a little more.
- Cut one restaurant meal a week
- Can’t bring yourself to sign up for a 401k? Start with 1% of your pay. You won’t even realize it’s gone.
- Track your spending (!!!!!!!!!)
- Put every $5 bill you receive in a jar. (Don't spend it!!) Then deposit all the $5 bills straight into your savings account.
- Teach yourself to cook one really awesomely delicious meal at home.
- Bring lunch to work one day a week. (& gradually add one day a week until you're packing a lunch every day)
- Stop purchasing bottled water- buy a reusable water bottle and fill it at home.
How to stick with your habit?
- write it in your calendar! I love using check boxes in my planner so I can check off each activity after I complete it.
- in the case of moving money to savings- set it up for auto pay and forget about it!
- put a post it on your computer screen
- print a monthly calendar and hang it near your desk- put a big black X through every day that you accomplish your desired activity
- write down your savings goals on a little piece of paper and stick it in front of your credit card. You'll remind yourself of your goals every time you whip out your credit card-- and hopefully this will keep you from spending so much! ;)