How to save when you don’t want to make sacrifices

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It’s no secret that it’s much easier to spend than to save. Saving requires discipline to prioritize your future in exchange for any instant gratification you might get from making an impulse purchase. Plus, many of us rely on the mindset that we can always salvage later down the road.

Regardless of what we prefer in the moment, we know that saving is a smart financial decision.

“Recent research shows that for every dollar you have in a savings account, you reduce the likelihood of missing a bill, forgoing medical care if something were to happen, skipping meals, etc. if you have a emergency,” says Mariel Beasley of The Common Cents Lab at Duke University, a behavioral science lab focused on the financial well-being of low-to-moderate income people.

The challenge is that we often view saving as a sacrifice of our happiness. But the good news is that there are ways to make it easier to save while not losing too much of everything else. Below, Beasley shares some money-saving tips when you don’t want to make big sacrifices.

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1. Save your bargains

“If you don’t want to – or can’t – reduce your expenses, the next easiest thing is to save bargains,” Beasley says.

Financial gains are essentially extra money in your pocket: a tax refund, work bonus, cash gift, inheritance, or even “cost savings” when you refinance a loan into a lower payment, she explains.

Because it’s unexpected money that “fell into your lap,” you don’t have to give up anything and then turn around and put it in a savings account.

While you may be inclined to have the money go into your standard savings, consider putting those cash inflows into a high-yield savings where they can earn a bit more interest. Marcus by Goldman Sachs High Yield Online Savings offers an above average APY, no fees and easy mobile access. It’s the easiest savings account to use when all you want to do is grow your money with no strings attached.

2. Automate your savings

“Saving is really easy if you make it automatic and timed with when you get paid,” Beasley says. When you automate your savings, you eliminate the decision to save or not and you forget what you could sacrifice to set aside these funds.

If you get paid by direct deposit, you can set it up so that a percentage of your paycheck is automatically transferred to a linked savings account each time it’s paid. Freelancers or entrepreneurs with more inconsistent income streams can schedule a recurring deposit from their checking account to their savings at a time of the month when they normally have excess cash.

“If you’re nervous about getting started, I’d set up an automatic transfer of a little, like 1% of each deposit,” Beasley says. “That way you know it’s always going to happen when you actually have the money. And then after a month or two you can try increasing it to 2% or 3% and then keep doing it every two months until you feel like you’re saving what you can but still can enjoy life.”

Finance expert Sallie Krawcheck also highly recommends getting into the habit of automating your savings. Once you set it and forget about it, over time your funds will grow and you’ll get used to living with a budget that’s savings for your future – and you’ll eliminate the urge to think about what you give up. .

3. Make saving fun

Beasley also suggests using a personal finance app, like Digit or Qapital, which make saving quite easy and painless through smart algorithms or fun challenges.

The Digit app works by connecting to your checking account and automatically saving small random amounts of extra money from your transactions to a savings account until you decide how you want to use it.

The Qapital app allows users to create rules that trigger a transfer of money to their savings. For example, you can set a challenge that every time you dine out, a certain amount of money is saved in your emergency fund or travel fund, whichever goal you choose. Users can also set investment goals and have money invested in low-cost index funds instead of a savings account.

Another way to anticipate savings is to set yourself celebratory goals. “Move more into saving than you take out of savings each month for three months, then celebrate by telling a friend or family member so they can congratulate you,” Beasley says.

4. Cut regrettable expenses

You know you should save, but you don’t know which expenses to cut first. These expenses may not seem obvious, but above all, Beasley suggests avoiding ATM fees and overdraft fees.

“Several years ago we did a study where we looked at what kinds of purchases people were most likely to regret,” she says. “The number one thing was bank charges.” To avoid these fees, consider opening a fee-free checking account, always use an ATM in the network and set up low balance alerts so that your account is not overdrawn.

“The second most common type of purchase people regret is eating out,” Beasley adds. She suggests creating rules that limit your restaurant spending.

For example, if you normally eat four days a week, reduce it to just three days a week. If you usually have two drinks and dessert with dinner, make a rule for yourself: you only get water with meals out or no dessert in exchange for a glass.

At the end of the line

You don’t have to give up much of what makes you happy to start saving. By saving up your deals, automating your savings, making saving fun, and cutting down on expenses you might regret later, you’re already well on your way to setting aside a decent amount of money. Plus, knowing you have savings to lean on makes you really feel like you habit having to make financial sacrifices in the future.

“Having a little financial cushion, even if it’s quite small, can give you peace of mind and a bit of slack, which will help you focus better on the parts of your life that make you happy and healthy. health,” says Beasley.

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Information about Marcus by Goldman Sachs High Yield Online Savings has been independently collected by Select and has not been reviewed or provided by the banks prior to publication. Goldman Sachs Bank USA is a member of the FDIC.

Editorial note: Any opinions, analyses, criticisms or recommendations expressed in this article are those of Select’s editorial staff only and have not been reviewed, endorsed or otherwise endorsed by any third party.

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