This post is brought to you by CJ Affiliate’s VIP Content Affiliate Service. While this was a sponsored opportunity from CIT Bank, all content and opinions expressed here are my own.
That weekend getaway, shiny new laptop, robust emergency fund, or buying your first home. No matter how large or small your money goals are, saving for them is super hard. We get it. If you’re met with “spare” cash, and given the choice whether to save or spend it, chances are you’d blow it on something right then and there.
You know that in order to sync your money goals (what you want to spend your money on), with your habits (with what you actually do with your cash) can feel like a huge task. But it doesn’t have to be. By getting in the right mindset and trying a few new things, you’ll be able to get closer to reaching your savings goals.
To help you get started making headway, we’ve rounded up the 8 best saving motivators:
1. Auto-save with CIT Banks’s Savings Builder
It’s far more easy to set-it-and-forget-it than to be tasked with the decision every month of whether you should save or not. Willpower behaves like a muscle: You only have so much discipline each day before it starts to wane. Putting your savings goals on autopilot will help you stay on task, without any additional mental effort.
While many banks allow you to automatically divert money into a savings account, CIT Bank has a product that gives you even more incentive to save. With CIT Bank’s new Savings Builder account, you can earn big if you deposit $100 into your account each month. Savings Builder is a tiered saving account that offers higher-than-average annual percentage yields (APY).
The cool thing is that while the 2.15% APY is normally only available if you have $25,000 or more in your account, you can enjoy that same high rate by getting into the habit of saving at least $100 or more monthly.
Even if you don’t have a $25,000 balance and you can’t save $100 a month, you’ll still qualify for the lower tier. The rate for the lower tier is 1.14%, which is still a very competitive savings rate. Keep in mind that in order to take advantage of the 1.14% APY, you need to make sure the account is opened on the 15th day of the month and no qualifying deposits of $100 are made following account opening. The actual APY may be greater or less depending on the date the account is opened.
Yes, that’s right. That 2.15% is so much more than the average APY of most banks — we’re veering into CD territory here. And the more you save into your Savings Builder account, the more you earn. It’s pretty great. See site for details and disclosures.
2. Start small
You know that saying,”How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.” While saving $5,000 for that epic family vacation or $20,000 for a down payment on a house seems overwhelming, start small. Let’s say you start with $25 a week. In a year’s time you’ll have $1,300 saved for whatever you please. Up the amount to $40 a week, and you’ll have squirreled away a cool $2,080. Not too shabby.
3. Know that you have enough right now to start saving
I’ll have enough to save when I make X money, when I get that promotion, or when my cash flow evens out. Sound familiar? Many of us feel like we don’t have the wherewithal to save.
But that line of thinking will only prevent you from forming good, money-saving habits. You need to kill it. You have enough to save something, right here, right now. It may not be as ambitious as you may have hoped, but the important thing is that you prioritize saving.
And guess what? When do you land that huge raise or snag that high-paying job, you’ll have the savings accounts and habits in place to sock more money away on the regular.
3. Focus on easy wins
To get you amped up to save, consider slashing your expenses. When you see how much you can save by cutting back here and there, you’ll feel empowered to save those beans! Go through your spending and look for areas where you can slash your expenses.
Big wins are those you save on your three major spending categories — housing, transportation, or food. If you can cut back on say, how much you pay for gas each month, or on your grocery bill, that could net larger savings over time.
Easy wins are recurring expenses, such as Internet, streaming subscription services, cell phone service, and so forth. These are considered easy wins because if you can find a less expensive option, or negotiate for a lower rate, that’s something you only have to do once. Whatever money you save each month, you can transfer into a savings account.
4. See the results of earning more money
While you can only slash your expenses so much until you find yourself living in a van, your earning potential is limitless. See if you can rake in extra money by way of a side hustle — get paid to take surveys, pet sit, tutor someone, or become a secret shopper or a rideshare driver.
Pro tip: These are some of our favorite ways to earn a side hustle.
There’s no shortage of ways to make an extra buck. Just remember: Whatever money you make on the side, make sure it goes toward your savings. Otherwise, you’ll be back at square one with your savings goals. When you start to earn some of that extra money and see it going straight to your goals, it’s like “This is awesome! I’m making serious headway!”
5. Save to live a better version of your life
To most, saving isn’t inherently fun. Here’s the thing: Financial fitness is not numbers and math. It’s really about living your best life. It’s about lining up your spending with your values. So if you’re having a weak moment and struggling to see the point of saving, think about what it would be like to have enough money to put a sizable down payment on a car or house, or to have that awesome new computer.
I like to think about what’s important to me — free time, volunteering, personal projects, friendship, creative endeavors — and how money can help me spend more of my time on the things I enjoy most.
6. Label your savings accounts
Once you’ve set up separate savings accounts for each of your goals, labeling them will give you an added boost. (Online banks will allow you to give specific names to differentiate your savings buckets.) It’s far more exciting and sexy to save for Bora Bora 2019 than to put away money into “Savings Account #1234,” right?
There’s something almost magical that happens when you label goals. When you tack on a specific goal to a savings account, you get pumped. And it’s worth it to sock away that extra bit of money — that you most likely won’t even miss.
7. Reward yourself
Every time you hit a checkpoint on your savings goals, treat yourself. It doesn’t have to be a big to-do, just enough to give you a proper hit.
For instance, for every $200 you sock away toward goal X, enjoy a night out at your favorite taqueria. Or indulge in a scoop — or two — at the nearby gourmet ice cream shop.
*Savings rate is subject to change