As Main Street Americans continue the slow climb out of “The Great Recession” more and more families are shying away from credit as the way to fund trips and treats. As the move to save for things like Christmas gifts, vacations, and high ticket household perks like entertainment systems catches on, however, people apply the same over-zealous approach to saving as they do to crash dieting, and cold-turkey quitting.
Just because a person is thirty years old and not ten, doesn’t make a person any less susceptible to the, “burning a hole in one’s pocke,” syndrome. Seeing a bank statement, or a cash jar, with all that money just waiting to be spent, is too much temptation for many people. And, for those people who succeed in gritting their teeth long enough to spend the money they’ve saved, on the item for which they’ve saved, the process was miserable, and they feel disinclined to engage in the practice down the road.
Targeted savings, like other forms of healthy living, needn’t always be drudgery. Here are steps to take, to keep your heart in your targeted savings plan.
Cheat a little: Have benchmarks on your savings plan which include small treats and trips. While you save up for your Disneyland® tickets, schedule a one-tank trip or purchase a device or article of clothing. Giving yourself the feeling of successfully saving for a smaller goal will strengthen your resolve on your greater one.
Make sure you use a cheating budget. Peel off one dollar for cheating, out of every nine or ten, and set it aside. As you budget the money, make sure you budget the time, to share in the bounty of your cheat cash.
Compete: Whether it’s among the members of your family, friends, or co-workers, the competitive spirit can drive a lot of good results.
Shop around: Use the time you have saving, to solidify your interests and to confirm your best price. While you are putting away the money, check in with your travel agent, or check the discount travel sites, to see what else is out there. If you’re buying a big ticket item, consider calling, or writing your retailer and seeing about a discount. Some retailers will even hold an item at its sale price to secure your maintained interest.
Consider adding an income stream: When my youngest brother was 6, he decided he wanted a new bike. Knowing my parents weren’t going to buy him one, he did yard work for all of the people on our street, over a day and a half. Next, he attacked his deficit by selling off toys to as many neighbor kids as were interested. Finally, he sat on our front lawn with a sign on the bike he owned, and sold it, too, but only for as much as he needed to get his brand new bike. So, he took five months of allowances, and turned it into two days of work. And, even though you may not be able to sell your old bike for a new one, we all have things and skills for which others might pay.
Using targeted savings plans can change the way you, your family, and even your friends, think about money. Paying for something over time is much better when nobody is gouging you for interest. It’s not always the glam and glitz of having it the first or the fastest, but, it’s a lot less hazardous to your wealth.