Savings Stalled? 5 Ways to Get Back to Basics
Setting a long-term savings goal is one thing. Achieving it is another. If your savings efforts have stalled, or you’ve given up on them all together, it can be challenging to find the motivation to get started again. Here are five practical ways you can refocus your energy and make progress toward your savings goals.
Remember Why You Started—Working toward any long-term goal is difficult, because it’s hard to sustain that initial excitement and motivation long-term. Spend some time thinking about what got you to start saving in the first place. Perhaps you were looking for the peace of mind that comes with having a fully funded emergency savings account. Or maybe you’re in the process of saving for a down payment to purchase your first home. Whatever your initial motivation was, reconnect with those feelings that sparked your desire to save.
Find an Accountability Partner—The concept of an accountability partner is simple: it’s someone who is actively committed to helping you reach your goal. Choose a trusted friend or family member, and tell them what your savings goals are. Then check in on a weekly basis to update your progress. Choose someone who you know will be honest and hold you to your commitment, without judging when you slip up.
Jump Start Your Savings Balance—There’s nothing like seeing measurable progress to keep you motivated. If your savings are stalled, do whatever you can to make some extra cash, and earmark those funds for saving. Pick up some overtime, hold a garage sale, or sell unwanted items on eBay or LetGo. And if you get work bonuses or cash gifts, commit to putting that money in savings, too.
Rework Your Budget—Have you let your budget slide? Now is the time to get back to it. Analyze your current income and expenses to see if your original budget makes sense for where you are now. Take a look at all your discretionary spending—such as streaming entertainment services, gym memberships, and other non-essentials, to see where you can make cuts and dedicate that money toward your savings goal.
Get Back to Basics—Are you taking advantage of all the everyday ways you can save money? You’ve heard it before, but it’s true that making your own coffee, bringing lunch from home, and avoiding impulse purchases (such as bottled water and vending machine snacks) can really make a difference in how much money you have to dedicate to saving. Don’t believe us? Put yourself on a spending fast for a week and see how much more money you have at the end of it.
If you’d like some help putting together a realistic plan to reach your savings goals, our free Credit Counseling can help. You’ll receive a budget and action plan to help you be successful.