Whether you want to save for retirement, your children’s college education, a house purchase or a dream vacation, you’ll need dedication and time. For many people, the temptation to spend money on things they want or need now, or the belief that saving a large sum of money is too difficult or impossible, keeps them from reaching their goals. Automatically transferring funds to separate accounts for long-term priorities can make saving easier.
Why Saving Automatically Works
Many people find that automating their savings helps them because they consider the balance in their checking account the amount that they have available to spend. Money in a separate account is still accessible, but a withdrawal or transfer is required to access it. That minor inconvenience helps keep people on track because it forces them to ask themselves whether the things they want to purchase are really necessary. People often feel disappointed with themselves if they take money out of an account dedicated to a long-term goal and try to avoid doing so.
How to Automate Your Savings
If you have a retirement plan through work, your employer likely already transfers a portion of your earnings to the account each pay period. You can set up savings accounts with competitive interest rates to work toward other goals, such as college, home renovations or a vacation. It’s best to have a separate account for each objective so you can track your progress and stay on track.
Automatically transfer money into one or more accounts each time you get paid. Your bank or credit union probably has an easy way to do that through its website or app. If your pay is direct-deposited, your employer may even be able to divide your earnings among multiple accounts so you won’t have to think about it.
Save Extra Money You Receive
If you have a budget and use your regular earnings, minus automatic savings, to cover your bills, any extra funds that come your way, such as an annual bonus or an income tax refund, can be used to beef up your savings. If you were getting by fine without that additional money, you won’t miss it, but you will appreciate it later when you reach your savings objectives.
Prioritize Your Long-Term Goals
If all your money goes into one account, it’s too easy to spend it in a pinch or on a whim instead of thinking about the big picture. Automatically saving money can help you achieve financial success. Even if you only set aside a small amount each time you get paid, doing so consistently over a period of months or years can help it grow. As you become accustomed to making ends meet with a little less money and see your balances increase, you may be inspired to make other small changes that can help you boost your savings and reach your goals even faster.