Stashing away cash for a rainy day can sometimes feel like a chore. However, it is important to fill your nest egg so you can be prepared for life’s curveballs. The Cheat Sheet asked three personal finance experts to share some of their tips for saving more money and how to turn this task into an enjoyable activity.
1. Start small
Try not to be overwhelmed by expert recommendations. Although it is best to have at least six to eight months of emergency funds, it’s OK to start saving little by little. Savings.com DealPro and founder of personal finance site The Centsible Life, Kelly Whalen, says even stashing away just $5 each week can get you in the savings habit:
Try saving small to start. Even if you can only sock away $5 to $10 per week it will make it easier to pay for an emergency when it does come up. That little bit can add up faster than you think!
2. Budget for the fun stuff
Deprivation is a sure way to blow through your cash. When you feel deprived you’ll just want to spend even more. So allow yourself to purchase a few wants in addition to your needs. Matt Becker, financial planner, founder of Mom and Dad Money and author of The New Family Financial Road Map, says this is the key to making life more enjoyable:
Make sure you save for things you want in addition to saving for the things you’re “supposed” to do. That could be saving ahead for travel, a house, the next iPhone, or whatever it is that makes your life more enjoyable. Those fun savings goals will make it easier to save for the other stuff as well. Make it visual. Get a big glass jar and use it to store spare bills and change right where you can see it. I guarantee you’ll be motivated to fill that jar up to the top.
3. Reward yourself
Saving money won’t feel like a chore if you choose to make it more enjoyable. One way you can add some enjoyment to the process of saving money is to set up a rewards system. This way, you’ll actually start to look forward to putting away your cash. Paul Vachon, founder of personal finance site The Frugal Toad, recommends inviting your family to join in on the fun:
Saving money can be a bit of a challenge but here is a tip that may help to make it fun! Instead of focusing on [saving], make it a fun challenge for your family to cut spending. Build in rewards along the way for meeting certain savings goals as a positive source of motivation for family members. You may have to get a little creative, but you’ll be passing on important financial literacy skills to your children that will serve them well.