If you have a hard time trying to save money but you know you need to start saving up to hit your financial goals, you might feel like you’re in a bit of a bind. It can be tough to put back money you know you could use for other purposes. After all, you’ve got the money, why not spend it?
This is where the “Set it and forget it” strategy comes in. It’s a surefire and easy way to save up money by short-circuiting your brain’s acquisitive side.
Humans are inherently acquisitive. We want stuff. When we get stuff, we want more stuff. Having a bit of money is nice, but having a lot of money is better. This is the basic psychology you’re fighting against when you’re trying to save money. It’s hard to part with money that is already in your possession.
You might be thinking about storing $100 in a savings account or in your retirement. However, there is a part of your brain that always wants to remind you that you could spend that money on fun stuff right now for yourself instead. New clothing, new video games, new makeup, nice meals: these things are hard to turn down.
So, don’t fight this instinct head-on. Make an end-run around it and do things the easy way, instead.
Set up your paycheck to automatically deposit money into your savings account. Take your pay, figure out how much per month you could comfortably forego, and send that extra amount right into your savings account. Then, forget about that money. You just make less money on your paycheck now, as far as the acquisitive side of your brain is concerned. Don’t even let tapping into your savings become a possibility in your mind.
This can also be done by maximizing your automatic contributions to your retirement account through your employer. If your employer offers a contribution match to your retirement account, meet their maximum for matching and let it roll. When you reach retirement age, you’ll be glad you set so much money back!
This strategy allows you to do the right thing for your future financial goals without feeling like you’re actually sacrificing anything. That’s the best of both worlds, and, if everyone was diligent about this kind of saving, retirement wouldn’t be such a scary concept. With the right technique, you can make saving as easy as just forgetting you’re even doing it.