No matter where you are in life, or what your situation is, you will need to make decisions and sacrifices. You may feel like you have to choose between eating every day and being able to take a couple of days off with your family this summer. Or between buying new clothes for your growing baby and getting that education that you’ve been craving. But there’s a solution to that; creating a savings plan.
I know what you’re thinking; but I don’t have enough income to get by, let alone put some aside to save up for something.
And you’re wrong.
Before you head over to your kitchen to get the rotten tomatoes to fling at me, let me explain.
Implementing this in my own life actually allowed me to save $800 / month on a $3000 / month salary when we had thought that we wouldn’t even be able to set aside a single dollar. This changes lives, believe me.
In the vast majority of cases, and this is true even when you’re living paycheck to paycheck, having a written savings plan will allow you to set money aside. This is simply because as long as you have money on your account, you will be more prone to spend it, little by little over the month, and not really realize how much you’ve spent on things you didn’t need.
If you follow these 5 simple steps, you’ll be able to implement a savings plan, regardless of the state of your finances. You will be able to achieve your financial goals, whether that be that long over-due family vacation, or that class that will get you one step closer to that career you’ve always dreamt about.
So, here are the 5 steps to implement:
1- Set up a budget
In order to implement a successful savings plan, you first need to know how much you’re earning, how much you’re spending, and what you are spending on.
You need to determine which of these expenses can be diminished, or even eliminated all together.
If you haven’t set up a budget yet, I suggest doing so now. Setting one up can seem overwhelming, but it really doesn’t have to be! If you don’t know quite how to go about it, read my how-to article here!
2 – Set a goal amount
Now that you’ve got a clearer idea of your finances, you need to have a clear idea of how much you need to set aside. This will of course depend solely on your goal.
If you want to set aside money for an online course, then it’s very straight forward and the amount is going to be the cost of that course (don’t forget to account for any extra materials you may need, such as books).
If you’re setting aside money for a vacation, then you’ll need to take all the aspects into account; cost of travel, of hotel, of meals, of entertainment, etc.
If you’re setting money aside for an emergency fund, then it’s more of a subjective amount. For this type of savings, there’s no hard-and-fast answer for how much you need. It’s really up to you to determine.
So take some time to think about your goals, and determine the amount you will need.
3 – Set a time-frame
Next you need to decide by when you will need to have that amount. Again, this will depend on what it’s for; if it’s for a vacation, then you may need it by summer. If it’s for buying a car, you may need it in 6 months.
It’s up to you to know when you will need that money, but this is a crucial step it setting up a successful savings plan. You need to have an end-point in sight.
So decide on a time-frame.
4 – Calculate monthly savings needed
This step is fairly easy. Once you have the amount you are aiming for and the time by which you will need it, all you have to do is divide the amount by the time left before the dead-line.
If your goal is to save up $1’500 for an online course that you want to take in a year, then that gives you 12 months to save up.
This means that you will need to set aside $1’500 / 12 each month, or $1’500 / 52 each week.
This amounts to $125 each month, or $29 each week.
Calculate what this amount is going to be for your project, and commit to putting that amount aside by following the next step. Alternatavely, you can download my free savings plan spreadsheet at the top or bottom of this post, and enjoy the joys of automated calculations!
5 – Pay yourself first
Paying yourself first is a fancy way of saying: put that money aside before you can spend it!
So when you sit down to pay your bills, pay yourself at the same time. Take the amount that you’ve settled on in the previous step out of the running.
Either take it out of your account and put it in an envelope that you have set aside and will not touch, or transfer it to a savings account.
Either way, do it right away, and do not make any exceptions!
6 – Bonus step – celebrate!
You’ve taken the first concrete steps towards your dreams. You should be extremely proud of yourself, and celebrate!
Take your family out for ice cream, or for a picnic by the lake. You deserve it; this is huge!
Setting up a savings plan may seem daunting at first. But by following these 5 easy steps, you’ll see that it’s actually not as hard or as painful as it might seem at first.
If you’re serious about achieving some sort of goal, then implementing a savings plan is a must! It will get you to your goals in a timely manner!
What about you? Have you set up a savings plan? Has it helped you achieve your goals? What would you want to set up a savings plan for?
Let me know in the comments!
In the mean time, take care!
Lots of love,
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