2021 could be a big year for you.
It could be the year you make a resolution to save.
And even better, you might stick to your resolution and end up driving off in your dream car, or putting down a deposit on your first home.
Truth is, these things will stay dreams unless you have a good savings plan. So, here’s a few things you can do to get on the right path.
Get started with a budget.
Before you work out how much you can save, you need to know how much you need to spend. That means you need to work out a budget.
Whether it’s weekly, monthly or annually, you’ve got to be in a position where your income is greater than your spending. Now that sounds obvious, but it’s amazing how many people set unachievable savings goals and then give up saving all together.
It’s far better to set a realistic target. That way you’ll be able to stick to it and won’t get discouraged when you find you can’t. In fact, you’ll be even more encouraged as you see your savings go up, and you’ll probably find new ways of cutting costs and saving more.
A good place to start is with the Bank First Budget Planner. You’ll be guided through what all of your expenses may be, from living expenses and leisure, right through to transport costs.
Simply fill in your details, including your income, and the planner will work out what your surplus is.
You should then look back through the planner and see if there are any areas where you can make little cuts in expenditure. Like, do you really need to buy two coffees a day? Can you save money on lunch by taking a sandwich to work? Do you need to eat in expensive restaurants quite so often? It’s up to you, but every little bit helps.
Once you’ve worked out your budget, you’ll know the amount which you should be able to save.
Maximise your savings.
Now you need somewhere to put your savings.
We suggest you consider opening a Bank First Bonus Saver account.
By putting your surplus money into an account that rewards you with bonus interest, you’ll achieve your goals even faster. And, as it’s not in your everyday account, it won’t be quite as easy to succumb to temptation and go out on an unplanned shopping trip.
The best way to stick to your plan is to set up an automatic transfer. Arrange to send money to your savings account on the same day as your income goes into your transaction account. Then you don’t have to even think about it, your money is out of sight, out of mind.
That’s the technical side of things. Now it’s up to you to set up ways of encouraging yourself further.
Extra ways to save.
Stick a picture of what you’re saving for on the fridge – it will always remind you what you’re doing this for.
As your saving progresses you may come up with new ways of shaving your spending.
Could your energy bills be cheaper with another provider? Is your phone plan more expensive than it needs to be? Do you use all that data you pay for? And, do you really need to be subscribed to all those streaming services?
All of these things start to seem more relevant and, as your goal gets nearer, you will be encouraged to save, save, save instead of spend, spend, spend.
You may even think of a side hustle to bring in some extra dollars.
So, if your New Year’s resolution is to save: set a goal, make a plan, stick to it and watch your savings grow.
Now, that seems like a sure-fire way to have a Happy New Year.