Now that we’ve talked about many of the different ways you can save, you’re probably thinking, “What do I do with all this money the Wealth Gospel is helping me save? I’m so grateful Ben is helping me save myself from financial serfdom!” Well first of all, I’m most humbled by your unnecessary, yet acceptable, praise. But let’s move on and get to structuring things to make your savings more meaningful.
Determine your priorities
Take some time and sit down with your spouse, if you have one, and talk about what excites you financially. Do you want to enjoy a long, fun-filled retirement? Do you want to help your kids pay for their education? Do you want to go on vacations every year? Or every month? (I’m in this boat!) Are you hoping to one day own a monster truck and take it to rallies throughout the country? What is it? Once you have decided, you’re ready for the next step.
Visualize your goal. Own it.
This is your goal, not mine. If you’re not both totally on board, if there is a both involved, you need to come to a consensus of what’s mutually important, then own it. Put up reminders, whether in the form of a collage, a computer background, or whatever. Make sure you don’t lose sight of your vision. Create a timeline of when you want to reach that goal. Also, be realistic. Getting $250,000/year in retirement when you’re making $50,000 just isn’t going to happen. You laugh, but I’ve heard it more than once. Basically, if your goal isn’t attainable, either in the time you’ve allotted or at all, it’s just going to become like all of those New Year’s resolutions you’d like to forget. Once you have your goal in mind and have created an environment to work toward it, move on to the next step!
Evaluate your spending
Determine how much you are currently saving and then determine how much you are spending on things outside your necessary expenses. Is there a balance? Does it favor too far one way or the other? Pinpoint those areas where you can cut unnecessary costs, but remember the importance of living in the present. It’s nice to save everything for the future, but if you don’t enjoy the present, you’ll probably go crazy and end up splurging. Have some fun, but be careful that it isn’t at the expense of your goals. Determine how much you can save and how much you want to spend on other things.
Budget your savings
Hooray for budgeting! It’s going to come back and haunt you if you don’t start doing it. Click here to get your budget on. One way to make sure you are saving each month is to turn it into a bill. You can create an automatic transfer every month from your checking account to your savings account, or you can make that split on the direct deposit with your employer. Once the money is moved, it’s no longer accessible for everyday purchases. And eventually you won’t even miss it. Do this even if the amount you save is small. At this point, it’s more about creating good behaviors than it is about making a huge impact. Trust me, you’ll thank yourself later.
Give your savings different names
If you have different goals (retirement, education, vacations, down payment, etc.), consider setting up different accounts for each goal. Separating your money rather than having a large conglomerate (how did they even come up with that word?) sum can help you avoid dipping into it for other things, thinking there is enough for everything you need.
Make Your Savings Meaningful
Remember, when it comes to saving money, it’s often more of a behavior problem than it is a money problem. Everyone is different, so everyone will have different goals and different ways to get there. By following these steps, you can create the necessary behaviors to reach your goals.