New Year’s resolutions: Every year we make them, and every year most of us are lucky to keep them till February. Why? Because breaking bad habits is hard, and it only gets harder as time goes by and our motivation fades.
But, there’s good news! If your New Year’s resolution is to save money, there are three simple ways to set yourself up for success—with virtually no willpower required.
- Separate your savings. Setting up an interest-bearing savings account will serve two purposes. First, obviously, it accumulates interest over time. Second, keeping your savings in a separate account removes the temptation to dip into it. Out of sight, out of mind.
- Set up automatic deposits. It’s much easier to save money if you don’t have to think about it. By setting up an automatic deposit each month, you don’t have to make the choice (or the effort) to move money into your savings account, and there’s no chance you’ll forget or find another purpose for the money. If it helps, think of your savings contribution as a bill just like any other.
- Let your payments roll over. The month after you pay off a credit card, loan or other debt, put the amount you’d usually pay into the next card’s balance, or into your savings account. Don’t let yourself get used to having that extra money.
This set-it-and-forget-it approach takes a lot of the work out of saving money. The less you have to think about it, the less tempted you’ll be to get off track. However, if you’re up for a more active challenge:
Track what you spend. Did you know that just by writing down what you eat each week, you can lose weight? The same is true of your expenses. The simple act of writing down what you spend makes you more aware of where your money is going each month, and it may make you think twice about some of your buying decisions.
Saving up for a down payment on a home? Use our mortgage calculator to estimate how much you’ll need. Also consider downloading our PDF, 8 Credit Score Management Tips. This free guide can help you make sure your credit is mortgage ready by the time you’re ready to buy!