Each year we set new year’s resolutions with pure intentions to see them through, but old habits get the best of us as we find ourselves poking at the red velvet cupcakes we swore off or carelessly spending on the new “hot” item. This is partly because we get so excited about turning over a new leaf that we set really massive goals, “but the average person has so many competing priorities that this type of approach is doomed to failure,” says Forbes. “Essentially, shooting for the moon can be so psychologically daunting, you end up failing to launch in the first place.” For a better shot at success, it’s recommended to take a baby steps approach and set realistic goals. If your resolution is to save $50 a week, consider modifying it to be a little simpler for a better shot at achieving the overall objective, which is to become a better saver. TODAY.com created the 52-week Savings Challenge to help you get on the money train without falling off the tracks.
While some people choose to save large sums at once, like their tax refunds, TODAY.com suggests saving habitually. In the 52-week Savings Challenge, savers put aside money every single week.
Week 1: Save $1
Week 2: Save $2
Week 3: Save $3
And so on. For each week, you deposit that amount into your savings account. The purpose is to form a habit of saving without the overwhelming feeling of large sums every week or month. By week 40, when you save $40, your total saved will be $820. By the end of the 52-week-year you will have saved $1,378, and more importantly, you will have adopted saving into your habits. A tip to maximize chances of success is to create a totally separate account, aside from your checking or leisure accounts. Mixing your savings money into the accounts that you regularly access may give a false sense of what you actually have to spend. Save separately and don’t touch your account unless you’re adding to it.
As you make strides to better your financial practices, check out this quick read on financial checkups.