Saving more money is one of the most common new year’s resolutions.
But actually changing your life with a resolution can be difficult. So how can you actually start saving more? NBC news has some tips.
First, make sure you start with a positive outlook.
NBC News explains:
First and foremost, you should never view your resolutions as a punishment for not having saved more or been more financially responsible in the past, explains Shelly-Ann Eweka, CFP, and a Denver-based financial director at financial services firm TIAA. Rather, you should view them as a form of self-care. You owe it to yourself to improve. Because of that, you shouldn’t beat yourself up try to throw your entire plan out the window if you slip up and overspend once in a while.
And don’t feel like you have to exist only in the extremes. The question shouldn’t be “Should I spend or save,” rather, it’s “How can I be thoughtful about doing both?” says Jerry Patterson, senior vice president, Retirement and Income Solutions with Principal Financial Group.
To help yourself, instead of setting a broad (and seemingly insurmountable) goal like “improve my finances,” set smaller milestones for yourself such as “save an extra $50 this month.” Bite-sized resolutions can help you avoid feeling overwhelmed. “If you’re the kind of person who struggles to make weekend plans, never mind financial ones, you’re not alone,” Eweka says. “Goal-setting can send some people into cold sweats. But setting goals is a critical component and important first step to making long-lasting financial changes.” Similarly, it’s okay to take a gradual approach toward financial adjustments. For example, instead of eating out for lunch every day, you can bring your lunch two days a week, Eweka says. Over time, you can work towards making a packed lunch your habit, and going out to lunch a treat.
Although it’s okay to start small with your goals — it’s not okay to procrastinate, she says. Even though retirement may feel like a lifetime away, the best time to start saving is now. “For every 10 years you delay saving, you’ll need to save three times as much to catch up,” she says. The habit is more important than the amount. “If money is tight, even starting to save something as small as a few dollars a month now, can reap large, long-lasting rewards over time.”