February 19, 2019 | 02:28 AM

Savings Tips

20.06.2018Small savings - Top tips to make every penny count

Small savings

It is important to be committed to saving towards specific goals, which are typically based around personal rewards. But an unexpected event, from your car breaking down to losing your job, can leave those savings goals in ruins, even for the most disciplined. And we're not always as self-possessed as we might hope to be – an inconvenient truth, but one we need to acknowledge.

While saving is obviously sensible, with desirable end results, it's a surprisingly difficult goal to achieve consistently. Often, this is simply down to the variable nature of the financial demands we face. You can't predict when your washing machine breaks down, and you can't prevent a natural disaster wiping out everything you own. Resolving these type of situations will cost you and can put a big hole in your savings, stunting the positive habit. However, the rewards of being a responsible, committed saver far outweigh the difficulties of managing to save consistently. The trick is to start small – it may take longer to achieve your goals, but you'll be more likely to stick to a savings habit. 

Save small for success

Saving a small amount on a consistent basis is better than saving large sums sporadically. A small amount of your income going into a savings account every month is easier to work around when the unexpected happens, and it still leaves you with cash for the little luxuries that make life worth living – trips to the beach, a new outfit, or dinner at that new restaurant that's been attracting rave reviews.

Top tips for small saves 

  • Don't let change go spare: Whenever you come in from a trip to the shops, or a day out with the family, have everyone empty their wallets and pockets of loose change. Put it in an envelope, or a box, and put that envelope or box somewhere memorable, but out of sight. At the end of the month, pay the contents of the box or envelope into a savings account.
  • One treat a week: You don't have to change your life, and you don't have to do without. Pick one thing that you enjoy, and buy on a weekly basis – one day's takeout coffee, one item of clothing on your Saturday shopping trip, one day's dessert when you're doing the grocery shopping. Take the cost of that item, and put it in your savings stash.
  •  It doesn't exist: Obviously, in the event of an emergency, you may need your savings. That's what they're there for, after all. Until a genuine emergency arises, however, your savings account doesn't exist unless you're adding to it. Don't include it when you're thinking about money you have available, and don't even check it unless you have money to add to it. 

Remember the tortoise

The tale of the tortoise and the hare can easily be applied to saving money. Stashing away a couple hundred dollars a month may look impressive initially, but if you end up running out of cash before your next paycheck and need to dip into your savings each month, you’re really getting nowhere. $10 a week is easier to manage when the seas of life start getting choppy. Like the slow, steady tortoise who didn't need to take a break, you'll be ahead at the end and you'll find it easier to keep up the pace.

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