Victoria Devine's top five tips to help you reach your savings goals sooner.
One of the most asked questions at She’s on the Money is how millennials can supercharge their savings and reach their goals sooner. It’s a question I could probably spend all day answering because there are so many ways we can go about it, but, in the interest of time, I’ve cut down my advice to the top five things we can be doing to reach our savings goals sooner. Here we go!
Assess your budget + cash flow
The first thing we need to do is take a really good look at our budget and cash flow, so we can see what patterns emerge with our spending that may be holding us back. Maybe you’re a bit of an Afterpay addict or perhaps you have several streaming subscriptions you don’t use but for some reason still pay for? It’s those seemingly innocuous spends that can really sabotage our savings. A good way of identifying exactly where you’re spending too much is to print off your last three months of bank statements, then grab your favourite highlighter and comb through noting everything you spent money on that maybe wasn’t so necessary. Rent and bills? They are essential. Uber Eats three times a week? Not so essential! Once you’ve done that it becomes very clear, very quickly, where you can reduce your spending.
Create a realistic budget
Budgets and structure are paramount in nailing our finances – they give us a roadmap of where we’re heading and make achieving our goals much more doable than just taking a stab in the dark. However, I don’t want graduates earning $40k to be striving to have $35k in the bank within one year. Instead, we need to set goals that are challenging yet achievable, because if they’re too out of reach it’s likely we’ll fail and then fall into a pit of self-loathing where we spend, spend, spend, to make ourselves feel better. If we can tick off more achievable goals along the way, that can really help keep us motivated and excited about nailing those bigger goals when we get there!
Ditch Buy Now Pay Later
This is a problem I see plaguing the finances of millennials (especially millennial women) and it’s something I believe should be avoided at all costs (there are exceptions to this of course). Buy Now Pay Later providers use incredibly smart marketing tactics that make consumers believe they’re helping us live the life we want by giving us access to things we can’t really afford. Unfortunately, these providers tend to count on us overusing their service, to a point where we can’t pay back what we owe. At that point we’re lumped with late fees, and so the vicious cycle continues. Instead of using these schemes, I suggest factoring discretionary spends into the budget, and not straying too far from your allocated spend amount so that you stay on track.
Consider other ways of making money
Supplementing your main income with a side hustle is a fantastic way to reach your savings goals sooner. Have a think about anything you’re good at that you could potentially monetise. Maybe you’re a good writer who could do some copywriting on the side? Perhaps you have a knack for crafts that you could spruik at a local market? These are great ways of maximising your income. Yes, this option takes a little effort, but your savings account will thank you for it!
Be kind to yourself
Last (and certainly not least) is that you need to be kind to yourself on this journey. Rehauling our finances, setting goals and meeting them is a longggg process and it’s so normal to fall down along the way. When that happens I want you to pick yourself up, dust yourself off and keep on striving for the goals you’ve set – you’ve got this.
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