Saving for those dream goals? Become a pro saver in no time.

By Andy Webb
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Want to actually put money into your savings? These are the actions that’ll keep you and your savings on track.

It can be difficult enough to find spare money to put away into savings, let alone do this regularly. But the odd bit of money squirreled away won’t make any difference if you’re hoping to do something with your hard earned cash.

If you really want to build up a decent fund you need to get into a savings habit. It can be done, and it’s not as painful as you might think.

Here are the seven steps that you should follow to make a success of saving.

Know what you’re saving for

The key to making the habit stick is setting a goal, It’s the motivator which will keep pushing you on to save when your mates are going out or the new iPhone comes out.

You need to want this more than all the distractions. So it could be saving for your first home; maybe a once-in-a-lifetime year travelling. Even if something huge isn’t realistic, you can set smaller, more attainable goals. It’ll really help.

Don’t touch the cash

You’ve got to be disciplined. Not in a 50 Shades “Red Room” way. No, you need to treat your savings as you would your rations if you were a survivor in a zombie apocalypse. You only use them because your life depends on it.

This means you only touch the cash for two reasons.

First, the goal you’ve been saving for. Do this and you’re a winner. The second is if you’re faced with a real emergency like your car failing its MOT or you don’t have enough to pay your gas bill. There will be bad consequences if you don’t pay so it’s better to use your savings. Tickets to Glasto are not an emergency.

To resist temptation, it really helps to move your savings in a separate account from your daily spending. Choose one with the best interest rates to boost your cash further, to know more about what saving options are available, click this.

Pay your savings before you pay yourself

Yeah, that’s right. You don’t get to spend any of your cash until you’ve already put money into your savings.

This might mean you hit the pot noodles for a few days before the next payday, but if you want to achieve your goal the sacrifice is better than spanking the money on a drunken takeaway.

Once you’ve paid your bills, work out what is left. Then make a call on how much you can afford to save.

If you want to find ways to free up cash to put into your savings there are all sorts of things you can do. We’ve got a list of seven everyday ways to cut how much you spend in this article.

Remind yourself why you’re saving

Once you’ve set the goal, don’t forget about it. Print out a picture and stick in on the wall, or as the screensaver on your phone. This can work too for goals which are a little more abstract like the future, having a family or emergencies - you just need to be more creative!

Keep on doing it

The best way to make something a habit is to do it regularly. With savings, try to send the money into your savings account the day after pay day. It’ll be even easier if you pay your bills at the same time as you’ll know exactly how much cash you’ve got left for everything else in the month.

A standing order is a great way to do this that means the same amount will go each month and you won’t forget to pay.

And think long term. We all know New Year resolutions don’t last, so don’t make this an empty promise for a few weeks. Make building your savings stash your priority for the next 12 months.

Reward your saving successes

You don’t want to resent the savings pot though, so to budget to reward yourself each month with a treat like a takeway. You could even plan for something a little bigger when you hit certain milestones - but don’t do that at the expense of your final goal!

Top Takeaway

Know what you’re saving for is just the start. Being disciplined and saving before any fun spending will get you halfway there. That final stretch might be painful, especially with temptations to dip into your funds, but at the end you could be looking at the cash you need to fulfil that dream.


Once you’ve succeeded, don’t stop. Keep that habit going with a new goal, and try to build up a buffer for emergencies.

 

By Andy Webb

Andy is the money blogger behind Be Clever With Your Cash, as well as the editor of blogging network UK Money Bloggers. He's passionate about helping people get the most from their money, and a little bit addicted to yellow reduced stickers in supermarkets. You might also have seen Andy on TV talking about money matters as he's one of the money experts on BBC One's Right on the Money.

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