It’s no secret that it’s much easier to spend than it is to save. Saving takes the discipline to put your future first in return for any instant gratification you might get from an impulse purchase. Plus, many of us rely on the mindset that we can always save later down the road.
Regardless of what we prefer right now, we know saving is a smart financial decision.
âRecent research shows that for every dollar you have in a savings account, you reduce the likelihood of missing a bill, forgoing medical care if something happens, skipping meals, etc. emergency, âsays Mariel Beasley of The Common Cents Lab at Duke University, a behavioral science lab focused on the financial well-being of low- and moderate-income people.
The challenge is that we often see saving as sacrificing our happiness. But the good news is that there are ways to make saving easier without losing too much of everything else. Below, Beasley shares some tips for saving money when you don’t want to make big sacrifices.
Subscribe to the Select newsletter!
Our best picks delivered to your inbox. Buy recommendations that help you improve your life, delivered weekly. Register here.
1. Save your deals
“If you don’t want to or can’t cut your spending, the next easiest thing is to save deals, âsays Beasley.
Financial deals are basically extra money in your pocket: a tax refund, a work premium, a cash donation, an inheritance, or even “cost savings” when you refinance a loan to a lower payment, she explains.
Because this is unexpected money that “fell on your knees,” you don’t have to give up anything and then turn around and put it in a savings account.
While you may feel inclined to have the money going into your standard savings, consider putting these windfall cash in high yield savings where they can earn a bit more interest. Marcus by Goldman Sachs High Yield Online Savings offers above average APY, no fees and easy mobile access. It’s the easiest savings account to use when all you want to do is grow your money with no strings attached.
2. Automate your savings
âSaving is really easy if you make it automatic and timed with when you get paid,â Beasley says. When you automate your savings, you eliminate the decision to save or not, and you forget what you could sacrifice to put those funds aside.
If you get paid by direct deposit, you can set it up so that a percentage of your paycheck is automatically transferred to a linked savings account every time they get paid. Freelancers or entrepreneurs with more irregular income streams can schedule a recurring deposit from their checking account to their savings at a time of the month when they normally have a cash surplus.
âIf you’re nervous about getting started, I would set up an automatic transfer of a little bit, like 1% of every deposit,â Beasley said. âThat way you know it’s always going to happen when you actually have the money. And then after a month or two you can try increasing it to 2% or 3% and then keep doing that every. two months until it feels like you’re saving what you can but can still enjoy life. “
Finance expert Sallie Krawcheck also strongly recommends making a habit of automating your savings. Once you set it up and forget about it, your funds will increase over time and you’ll get used to living on a budget that takes into account saving for your future – and you’ll eliminate the urge to think about what you are giving up.
3. Make saving fun
Beasley also suggests using a personal finance app, like Digit or Qapital, both of which make check-in quite easy and painless thanks to clever algorithms or fun challenges.
The Digit app works by logging into your checking account and automatically saving small, random amounts of extra money from your savings account transactions until you decide how you want to use it.
The Qapital app allows users to create rules that trigger a transfer of money to their savings. For example, you can set a challenge that every time you dine out, a certain amount of money is saved in your emergency fund or travel fund, whatever goal you choose. Users can also set investment goals and put their money in low cost index funds instead of a savings account.
Another way to hope to save is to set celebratory goals. âPut more into savings than you take out each month for three months, then celebrate by telling a friend or family member so they can congratulate you,â Beasley says.
4. Eliminate regrettable expenses
You know you should save, but you don’t know which expenses to cut first. These expenses may not seem obvious, but above all, Beasley suggests avoiding ATM fees and overdraft fees.
âSeveral years ago, we did a study in which we looked at the types of purchases people were most likely to regret,â she says. “The number one thing was the bank charges.” To avoid these costs, consider opening a free checking account, always use a networked ATM and set up low balance alerts so you don’t overdraft your account.
âThe second most common type of purchase that people regret is eating out,â Beasley adds. She suggests creating rules that limit your spending at restaurants.
For example, if you normally eat at a restaurant four days a week, reduce it to just three days a week. If you’re in the habit of having two drinks and a dessert with dinner, establish for yourself that you only have water with meals out or no dessert in exchange for one. glass.
At the end of the line
You don’t have to give up much of what makes you happy to start saving. By saving your windfall earnings, automating your savings, making saving fun, and reducing expenses you might regret later, you’re already on your way to saving a decent amount of money. Plus, knowing you have savings to lean on makes you really feel like you. habit having to make financial sacrifices in the future.
“Having a little financial cushion, even if it’s quite small, can give you peace of mind and a little slack, which will help you better focus on the aspects of your life that make you happy and healthy. health, âBeasley explains.
Catch up on Select’s in-depth coverage of personal finances, technology and tools, well-being and more, and follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to stay up to date.