People don’t save enough. At least that seems to be the theme of multiple studies and opinion pieces around the internet. We often blame poor education, or consider using forced saving programs, but ignore the underlying reason people don’t save anything: the motivation is damn poor to save anything.
After all the majority of people out there consider saving equal to future spending. So they think: “I’m saving today to spend this money later”. With that in mind it is fairly easy to see why saving for 40 years to fund some distant vague ‘retirement’ is as appealing as paying to watch paint dry. The daily demands are so much more obviously appealing like a trip to somewhere warm in the middle of the next winter.
So perhaps the issue is people need to change how we view saving, instead of thinking of savings as future spending perhaps we consider it buying freedom instead. At least on the motivation side of the battle this is a bit more appealing to say, I’m not spending this $100 on more crap for my house instead I’m buying freedom. Yes I know $100 isn’t much, but if you keep doing that on a frequent basis in a decent investment it does start to buy your future freedom.
The part of increasing your motivation is to give something specific to visualize to help out with the motivation. Imagine each monthly savings is giving you an extra week out of the office forever…what would you do with your extra week? Go hiking, spend it with family, start your business, or anything else you always wanted to do. It helps to have an idea of what you are saving for.
The other way I personally find to make saving easier is to automate as much as the process as possible, you want to make the act of saving easy. Why? Well when you motivation is fairly thin to begin with it doesn’t take much to get side tracked by something silly. For example, if you were trying to get into a habit of running you shouldn’t let the first small chance of rain cancel a run..otherwise you are making it easier to fail. The same idea of saving, so I setup automatic payments to our savings account each month to move the money over the day after payday. That way there is as little resistance to it as possible to the act of saving.
So how do you motivate yourself to save? What tricks have helped you build a good saving habit?