My family and I have been talking about taking a vacation for a long time. You know, something out of state to somewhere we’ve never been before. At first, the talk was mainly just wishful thinking. Living paycheck to paycheck doesn’t afford us the luxury of vacations. However, after tossing the idea around in my head for some time, I decided we were going to take that vacation one way or another. I began devising a plan for saving money that in just a year, would allow us to go. If you’re in the same boat, the following five ways to increase your savings account balance are the same I used, and they’ll work for you, too!
1. Pay yourself First.
This is important because it’s the main way you’ll increase your balance. When you get paid, the first thing you usually do is head to the bank to deposit your check, or head online to make sure your direct deposit went in. While you’re at the bank or on the bank’s website, make sure you deposit a portion of your check directly into your savings account. Do it right away, because if you think you’ll do it at a later date, you never will.
2. Do a Savings Challenge.
If you don’t know what a savings challenge is, it’s exactly what it sounds like: you challenge yourself to save money. One of the most popular right now is The 52 Week Challenge where you start by putting just $1 in a jar the first week and then up that amount by a dollar each consecutive week after that for an entire year. There are many other savings challenges you can try, too. Find one that works for you and stick with it.
3. Spend Less on Non-necessities.
This is a tough one, but totally doable nonetheless. Take stock of everything you regularly spend money on and decide where you can make adjustments in your spending. Do you go to the movies often? Staying home and renting a flick will help you cut spending. Do you eat out for lunch several times a week at work? Take your lunch instead and watch your savings grow.
4. Use your Smartphone to keep Tabs on your Money.
Smartphones can be used for more than just staying in touch, and many banking institutions use smartphone apps to their (and your) advantage. Set alerts for your savings account that tell you when the balance has gotten too low, or check your balance in real-time periodically to reinforce your spending and saving goals.
5. Resist the Urge to spend your Savings.
It can be really difficult knowing you have all that money sitting in the bank and are unable to use it, especially when you find something you really want. Resist the urge to transfer your savings to use it on things that don’t fit your savings goals.
Whether you’re saving for something specific like a vacation, or simply want to make sure you have money for emergencies or retirement, the tips listed above will help you get well on your way. In my case, by using these suggestions, I was able to save enough money in a year’s time to go on vacation with my family and have a wonderful time!
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