Make 2014 Your Year to Save!


We are approaching the middle of March and many of us are feeling knocked-for-six at how quickly the time has passed since we rang in 2014 with new resolutions. And for some of us, what’s more surprising is the rate at which vows to save more than last year went off track. Don’t be too hard on yourself, more people break resolutions than keep them. And fortunately it’s not too late to make this your year to save with these tips for goals that stick.

Start feeling good about your financial goals
If you feel bad about your relationship with money, you’re not likely to manage it well. It’s time to reframe the picture you’ve painted of your financial life. Change resolutions like “I want to spend less in 2014,” and “Eat out less each month,” to ones like “I want to save more,” and “Learn to cook one new thing at home each week.” Instead of feeling like you’re giving up something you’ll feel like you’re making an achievement.

Get Specific
Now that you’ve gotten over your feelings of guilt and you are learning to love your money it’s time for step 2. Take a look at each goal on your list. Are they all specific? If not, it’s time to add figures. Research has shown that what often derails saving isn’t really the unexpected flat tyre or leaky pipe. It is goals that seem to take forever to achieve. Ask yourself, at what point do you finish ‘saving for retirement,’ or ‘investing for the future’? Step 2 is where you change goals like “I want to save more,” to “I want to save $100,000.” If you aren’t sure how much you need to save or the maximum amount that’s achievable for you, this is a good time to talk to a Victoria Mutual Financial Planner. Once you make your goals more concrete you enable yourself to set timelines for them.

Divide and Conquer
Here’s where you break down your larger goal into smaller, attainable ones. You can do this with your Planner if you don’t feel ready to go it alone, but if you did step 2 correctly you will be able to divide your annual goal into 52 weekly or 12 monthly ones, depending on your objective. Our experience has shown us that savers who break their goals into smaller recurrent ones are more likely to stick to their goals and feel better about the process.

The more you can automate your goals, the less you have to think about them each month. Automatic savings programmes, like our iSave account, allow Members to set up monthly transfers into a goal-based account and get great interest rates. The steady and consistent savings and compounded interest will certainly have you beaming with pride about your progress.

Get Savings Support
Share your goals with a friend or family member. If your goal is to go on a 2-week trip to Paris to ring in 2015, or to save $360,000 towards your home deposit, tell your friend. We’re often afraid to tell people our big goals in case we fail, but any of us who have ever challenged ourselves to do something new know it’s easier with someone by our side. Call your friend each month to update them on your goal. Call if you’re experiencing a moment of weakness in a store full of shiny new things. Go bulk shopping together and divide your purchases in half to save on the unit costs of household items.

Develop a Money Mantra
Better yet, develop a few of them and write them down on sticky notes and place them where they’ll count. For example, place an “I will cook for myself today!” note by the phone so you don’t order take-out, or on the dashboard of your car if you’re a drive-thru junkie. And may we recommend this mantra: “I deserve to achieve [insert goal here].”

Quarterly Reviews
Every 3 months look at the progress you’ve made. Check your budget against your actuals and make the requisite adjustments.

Reward Yourself
Saving is a habit and, similarly, not saving is a habit. If we’re trying to introduce a new behaviour, like saving $20,000 per month instead of $15,000 we’ll need to override the habit of spending the $5,000. How? By introducing an external reward which will encode a feeling of satisfaction whenever we save it. Where are you cutting that $5,000? Let’s say it’s by skipping going to the movies. Attach a reward to that decision – perhaps a night in with your family, snuggled on the couch watching your favourite film. If it’s by skipping a shoe purchase, have a packet of your favourite candy or go hang out with your friend instead. Receiving a reward for your new saving behaviour will make it easier to make the switch.

Dust Yourself Off
If you find that you’re not on target, please don’t throw your hands up in the air. Recalculate, review and then get going again.

Follow Your Financial Institution
If you’re not following your financial institution on Social Media you could be missing out. They’ll often post news of new rates and discounts there first, as well as giveaways that could save you more. You can get quick answers to your money management questions (remember not to post personal information publicly) and even find articles on personal finance and career development. Or even make suggestions about how new services you’d like to see. Victoria Mutual is on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn with open ears, and we love to hear about your savings journeys.

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