How is your nest egg? If you do not have the savings that you want to have and/or do not have a plan to get there, perhaps a different approach is in order.
It has occurred to me that whenever there is an emergency we drop everything else and focus on that event or problem. This is natural… it’s the “survival instinct” we all have. The adrenaline rush kicks in and we go to work with an extra source of energy for a period to “fix” what is wrong. We need to treat our saving and spending plans the same way.
Here are some ideas to get (back) on track:
Set a bare minimum that you can save each week or month and “pay yourself first”.
Automate the saving of that amount whenever possible. Use payroll deductions or set up automatic transfers from checking to savings accounts (you can do more than one).
If you tend to impulse buy, try “impulse saving” instead for an extra boost to your base goal amount.
If you have multiple consumer debt to pay off, tackle the one with the highest interest rate first, regardless of balance and pay a little more than the minimum each month on the others (this is better for your credit score than just paying the minimum)
Keep track of your savings progress on a regular basis, and use automated tools to send you updates if you can. Decide on milestones along the way to your goal. (ex: $5000 in a vacation fund, each $1000 could be a milestone)
Try the buddy system – team up with a good friend and report on your progress to each other.
Decide ahead of time on incentives you earn when you’ve reached a milestone.
Use an online tool to aggregate all your financial assets to see the “big picture” more easily.
Revisit your goals at least annually. Did you set the bar too low? Did you go off course?
Our savings goals and the actions needed to reach those goals deserve nothing less than our full attention. We can see the importance of this from a national perspective as well as from a review of our finances. While the former is frustrating, we positively can affect our balance sheet. Simply put, if we ignore our financial health, specifically our savings and spending now, we will indeed have a financial catastrophe in the future. Remember, it’s an emergency!
Some free internet resources: