Saving money is something that many Americans struggle with. In fact, Americans are known for having a terrible savings rate to help them reach their savings goals. If you’re currently behind on your savings goals for 2015 don’t despair. There are a few things you can do to “bridge the gap.”
You might not save the amount that you hoped to — but you’ll be further along than you were.
Take some time to look at where you’re savings are situated. Are you saving for emergencies, retirement, or, saving for a trip? Do you have a clear idea of why you’re saving? Having clear reasons why you’re doing something may make it easier to work toward long-term savings goals.
Once you’ve gone through you’re initial savings assessment figure out what your shortfall is and then begin the process of working toward saving more money. Here are six ways to catch up on savings goals for the year:
1. Spending adjustments
First, you will have to make some adjustments to your financial process. Become more mindful about your expenditures.
Do you need everything that you’re purchasing? Is there a way to get the same quality item but for less? As you make these adjustments put that money toward your savings goals.
2. No spending for a month
Do a one month “No Spending Challenge.” Not only will you save money, but you will become aware of what your spending triggers are.
During this challenge, ask yourself how were you feeling when you wanted to purchase an item that you didn’t need. Were you bored, tired, or just wanted a pair of new shoes?
Observe your actions and be kind to yourself. The goal is not to make you feel bad about what you’re doing, but to become aware of what you’re doing so that you can make better financial choices.
3. Cut travel
Cut unnecessary travel from your budget. Travel is not cheap!
Cut your expenses like a surgeon and remember that these adjustments don’t have to be forever — unless you would like to make those changes permanent.
4. Pick up side gigs
Pick up extra work and apply that extra money to your savings accounts to help you reach your savings goals.
The Christmas holidays are almost here and if you’re able to be in a mall without shopping then you may want to consider working a holiday job. You do have to be comfortable standing on your feet for extended periods of time.
5. Save windfalls for savings goals
Use your holiday windfalls for savings. If you get a yearly bonus, money from your parents or grandparents, or an unexpected refund, save that money.
6. Sell your surplus
If you are still needing more money in savings start selling the items that you aren’t using but are in great shape. Go to consignment stores, sell items via Craigslist, or have an indoor rummage sale if the weather is colder.
A word of caution, if you’re using Craigslist to sell items safety always comes first. Schedule your meeting at a police station or any other space that is both well-populated and trafficked.
Finally, avoid feeling badly if you don’t meet your original savings goala. Did you get close enough? Look at what you can do differently next year. Maybe your goal was too audacious? Maybe it wasn’t audacious enough?
Actively saving is a skillset that is learned over time. Get started now on making sure that you’re meeting your 2015 savings goals. Good luck!
Michelle Jackson is a personal finance and lifestyle blogger sharing her story at The Shop My Closet Project. Her goal is to help people cultivate their best life. When she’s not blogging or podcasting for Girl Gone Frugal you can find her riding her bike, going for coffee, or hiking in the mountains.