By now we are almost 30 days into our New Year’s resolutions. Among the one-third of Americans who chose financial New Year’s resolutions, 48 percent plan to save more, according to a Fidelity Investments survey. If you’re among those aspiring savers, how are things going so far this year? If saving has been a challenge, read on for some concrete ways to help you reach your savings goals.
Start with a benchmark
Use year-end resources, such as annual bank statements and 12-month credit card summaries, to review your spending and saving from last year. You will need this benchmark to create achievable and realistic goals for 2020.
Create SMART goals
SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely. By creating specific goals that are measurable and realistic your are more likely to be able to achieve them. This is why reviewing your spending from last year is a very important step to ensure success.
Develop a savings system
It’s one thing to set your goal, but how you get there requires more thought. Make sure you put a system in place that can help you achieve your goals. For example, setting up automatic transfers from your checking account into your savings account the same day your paycheck hits so you don’t even have the chance to spend the money. Or at the end of each month set a reminder to check to see how much you spent and put some percentage of any extra money into your savings account.
Cancel unneeded subscriptions and memberships
Sometimes it is easier to cut spending than it is to track savings. Reviewing monthly subscriptions and memberships can be a quick way to start reducing unnecessary spending and turn those monthly expenditures into savings.
Readjust as needed
Life changes and sometimes things happen that are out of our control. Don’t let those changes result in giving up on your goals. The most successful companies are the ones that can pivot and change quickly when needed. In the same way, if you need to adjust your savings goals or even skip a month, that’s ok! Saving something, even if less than expected, is better than nothing.
Here’s to 2020 being the year you hit your savings goals!