How are your New Year’s resolutions going? Still on track or abandoned? I’m sorry to admit that I haven’t managed to save a single penny which means my Christmas overspend will remain unpaid at the end of this month. I’ve not achieved even a chink in the debt mountain.
That of course makes me feel like a complete failure. But then there were a couple of unexpected bills and perhaps I was a little unrealistic about how much I could pay off. Worse, I didn’t follow my own advice which I’m about to share here. There is a very simple way to ensure you meet your savings goals: prioritise your saving.
It seems ludicrously simple but it’s actually very effective. It merely means putting away money on or just after your payday rather than waiting till the week before payday to scrape together what’s left. Then you avoid the scenario whereby it’s the end of the month, you’ve spent all your cash and there’s nothing for the piggy bank. You miss that month, then the next and before you know it, another year’s rolled around and there’s still nothing put aside.
There’s a couple of tweaks to be made to this basic plan. You have to decide what is an affordable amount to save. There’s no point trying to put away so much money at the start of the month that your fridge is empty by the end of it. And if you don’t think you can save that much, then don’t. Start small and get into the habit. Even £10 a month is better than nothing and eventually it all adds up.
Another top tip (which I’ve borrowed from Faith Archer at the blog Much More With Less) is to set up a direct debit for your savings. It means you only have to do one bit of admin once. Then you don’t have to think about or organise making the saving because it’s all done automatically.
If your resolve is flagging, have a listen to this podcast where Faith, another money blogger Andy Webb and myself discuss various ways savers can help themselves to stick to their regime. You can also check the SMM guide to successful saving here.
In the meantime, roll on the end of January!