The biggest obstacle to saving is living paycheck-to-paycheck. While more people have made saving a priority during the pandemic, those with a low-income still struggle to put money in the bank.
Whether you live paycheck-to-paycheck or are unemployed, you can still put a little something aside for a rainy day. Your income level shouldn’t be a roadblock.
Another obstacle to saving is fear. The what-ifs are fearless and don’t mind keeping you hostage. Don’t let that or anything prevent you from achieving your goals.
Take the worry out of saving by following these three easy steps:
1. Set Your Goals
Make saving a priority. Before you get started, make a list of your goals.
Do you need an emergency fund? Would you like to buy a house or pay off the one you already have sooner? How about retirement? Do you need to replace or repair a fence? Do you have credit card debt or want to start a business? How about investing? Does your car need fixing, or are you thinking about renovating? Do you need new furniture? Do you want to travel? Do you need a new laptop or a new cellphone?
Let your goals be your motivation. That’s all the motive you need. Once you have an excellent visual, move on to the next stage. Be sure to revisit and revise them at least once or twice a year. Keeping your goals at the peak of your mind will help you stay on track.
When I started on my journey three years ago, my goal was to buy a house. It was my dream to become a homeowner, so I had to get serious about saving sooner rather than later. I had to do away with the excuses and simply get started.
2. Set A Reasonable Starting Point
One of the most incredible ways to attain your goals is to set up an automatic payment schedule with your bank. Whether it’s saving $5, $10, $20, $50, or $80 a month, it all adds up in the end. Be sure to begin with an amount you won’t miss or lose sleep over.
In the beginning, I saved $50 a month or $25 from each paycheck. After six months, I increased the amount to $100 a month because it was an amount I knew I would not miss. By the end of the year, I had saved $900! Now that’s not a lot for some people, but for me, that was remarkable.
Honestly, I didn’t have a healthy relationship with money. I’d set some aside in my account, only to end up losing all or most of it. Family members would always ask for help; it was as if they knew I had money sitting around. Other times I’d spend it on impulse because I knew it was there.
Every time I did that, I’d end up needing it for an actual emergency. Then came the stress of coming up with the money I had just given away or wasted.
The cycle got tiring, and eventually, I sent the money to an external account. I even named it after my goal. And I made sure I didn’t have a debit card to avoid further impulse shopping. The only way for me to withdraw funds was to either do a wire transfer or show up at the bank.
I enjoyed seeing my money grow. Therefore I did my best not to mess with it, and that helped a lot. However, there were a few times when my main account came up short. And I’d end up wiring it back to prevent it from going into an overdraft. But, after multiple times, I finally put an end to it. I had to learn how to budget and properly manage my money, whether I liked it or not.
Six more months after that, I increased my automatic savings amount to $200 a month. I saved a whopping $2,400 for that year! Now that’s progress! I was not only finally seeing the fruits of my labor, but I was also getting the hang of it.
If I managed to keep it up in five years, my $2,400 would turn into $12,000. And that’s not counting the interest it would accumulate.
Imagine what $12,000 can do for you! The possibilities are endless, and that was just from saving $200 a month.
3. Pay Yourself First
Finally, with your goals written down and your starting point figured out, it’s time to put your money where your mouth is.
One of the best acquisitions you’ll ever make is to invest in yourself. Pay yourself first out of your take-home pay. Whether it’s weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly, commit to paying yourself first before your bills.
I made sure I paid myself first from every paycheck I received. That ensured my success and is still an essential part of my journey towards financial security.
At first, I was scared to death. Fear of failure held me hostage. I had no sense of what I was about to get myself into, but I went ahead with it. I needed a transformation in my life, and it began with saving money I would’ve otherwise have wasted.
I’m at a good place now. I don’t have to think about the money getting deducted from my account. At one point, I was losing sleep over it. I worried about not having enough money left over to cover bills or my family’s needs. I was stuck on all that could go wrong instead of focusing on the positives.
Things worked out in the end; I started saving just in time. My small fortune contributed to the down payment and closing costs on my first home. Not bad, right? The little I had set aside helped me reach my goal of owning my own home.
A little goes a long way, as you can see. Are you ready to get started? What is standing in your way?
Take these three easy steps today and see what you can achieve:
- Set your goals;
- Set a reasonable starting point; and
- Pay yourself first.
Take it from me; if I can do it, you can do it too. I procrastinated for years and made many excuses. I could’ve saved more had I gotten started earlier.
I didn’t think I earned enough and was living paycheck to paycheck. But with hard work and dedication, I saved and reached my goal by saving a little each month.
If you would have any tips or suggestions, please feel free to leave a comment. Also like, or share this article with your friends and family.