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How it helps to know what you’re saving for

Need money for something big? If you’re crystal clear about what you’re saving for, you’re more likely to succeed.

Fist pumps all round.

Eyes on the prize

A wise guy once said, ‘keep your eye on the prize but enjoy the journey’. Clever indeed. If you’re in savings mode, stick these wise words on your fridge. Along with a picture of what you’re saving for. You could even stick a picture of your savings goal in your wallet too. It’ll help make you think twice before you whip out the plastic-fantastic.

Keeping your eyes on the prize – rather than just the journey – is one of the secrets to successful saving. Instead of thinking about how you’re $50 worse off each week because the money is being re-directed into your savings account, think about the round-the-world trip that the $50 is going towards. Instead of bemoaning the fact that you’ve quit your morning coffee, think about how you’re getting closer to buying a home.

Keeping your eyes on the prize – rather than just the journey – is one of the secrets to successful saving.

Definitions count

Most people find it easier to save if there’s a tangible goal in mind. For example, you may be more motivated to make sacrifices to your spending if your goal is ‘save $5,000 by April 2019 for my European adventure’ rather than ‘save for a holiday’.

So, your first step towards savings success may be to clearly define your savings goal. You might have a couple of different things you’re saving for. That’s OK. And pretty common. Most people have holidays, houses and things like the kids’ education on their radars. You can work out how much you need to save for each of these things, and by when.

It can help to open up separate savings accounts for each of your different goals. By splitting up your goals, it’s easier to keep track of them.

More motivation

Sometimes, you need a little extra motivation to kick-start your savings. If you have a partner who shares your savings goal, great. If you’re in it together, you’ll keep each other on track. Or, you could get together with mates who are trying to save for similar things and have a collective pep-talk about your goals.

You could also go social with your goals. Let it be known on all your social accounts what you’re saving for. The digital village can be great at encouraging you to stay on track.

If you find yourself falling off the savings wagon – and, let’s face it, we all have blips from time to time – then try find ways to boost your motivation to save. So, if you’re saving for that big European holiday, then you could throw a (cheap) movie night at home. Rent a movie set on the coast of Italy, serve (cheap) Prosecco and slices of prosciutto and provolone cheese. In other words, remind yourself of all the things you’re looking forward to on the trip.

Or, if you’re saving for a house deposit, you could spend a weekend going to home opens. Binge on back episodes of home improvement shows. Go to the library and borrow a pile of home magazines. Think back to why you started saving in the first place: ‘That’s right, I’m in my late twenties and it’s time to move out from the folks.’

Break it down

Local community groups love their savings thermometers. Inch by inch, the colour creeps up the inside of the thermometer to show the world how close they are to reaching their fundraising goal. Kinda cheesy, yes. But visualising the progress of your savings? Clever.

Whether you go a tried-and-tested thermometer, a pie chart, or a fancy savings app on your phone, tracking your progress can help while you keep your eye on the prize. If you’re saving for an overseas trip, you could stick a map of the world on the wall next to your bed, and move a little cut-out plane from Australia towards your destination as your savings grow.

This is the part about enjoying the journey. Sticking to your savings plan feels good. Almost as good as when you hit your exercise goals for the week. You could break it down by adding milestones – each time you reach one, give yourself a high five or, if the budget allows, a night out.

And remember, knowing what you’re saving for is one of the universal truths when it comes to saving. Set your savings goals today, shout them from the rooftops, and start enjoying the journey.

The information set out above is general in nature and has been prepared without taking into account your objectives financial situation or needs.  By providing this information ANZ does not intend to provide any financial advice or other advice or recommendations.  You should seek independent financial, legal, tax and other relevant advice having regard to your particular circumstances.