If you are someone who has struggled to budget, and doesn’t know how to save money effectively, list up. It’s time to put together a money saving plan so you can live your Dream Life. But it takes some work! When it comes to saving money and putting together a money saving plan, most people fall into one of 2 categories:
- Those who “wing it”
- Those who are proactive
Most millennials don’t have a money saving plan in place. They think that having a budget is enough. But just knowing your income and expenses isn’t enough. Saving money is more than putting whatever is left over at the end of each month into your savings account.
The biggest difference between the people who “wing it” and the people who are proactive is that those who are proactive have a money saving plan. They take time in advance to plan out where their money will go… and then they stick to it.
The people who “wing it” let their circumstances dictate their actions. They let life happen to them, and ultimately they react after something has happened instead of anticipating it in advance. As a result, they end up falling behind, sometimes to a point where it’s really hard to catch up.
Being proactive and having a money saving plan is a choice, and it requires thought, time and effort to do so. Here’s how to save money by being more proactive with your personal finance:
1. Think Ahead
Look at your income: how much money do you have coming in (or anticipate will come in) at the beginning of the month? Do you know how you will spend that money? Then, think about your recurring expenses, any big purchases or experiences you may have coming up, and anticipate how much that’s going to cost. Taking some time at the beginning of the month to simply think about how you’ll spend your money will make a huge difference.
2. Set Financial Goals
Having goals in place will accelerate your financial success and help you save more money. In fact, an integral part of putting together a money saving plan is having solid financial goals.
Studies show that those who have goals written down will see better results than those who don’t. Goals give you direction, purpose, and motivation for all of the steps you are taking to improve your financial situation. Without them, you’ll spin in circles wondering why you haven’t gotten anywhere. I have an entire podcast episode dedicated to setting SMART financial goals, which you can check out HERE.
3. Check In Once a Week
When was the last time you actually checked in on your finances? Proactive people check in regularly and make adjustments as needed, and this helps them save money. They know exactly where they stand at any given moment, and if something isn’t working for them, they change it. As a result, they can use money as a tool to get ahead, rather as a means to end.
Why Winging It Doesn’t Work
Taking a reactive approach to your finances, and not having a money saving plan, is a bad idea. When you are “winging it” you’re far less likely to follow any type of budget or a plan, and if you do have one, you probably aren’t checking in on it as often as you should be. This takes you out of the drivers seat of your financial life and puts you in a position where you can easily lose control of where your money is going.
On top of that, it’s likely you haven’t spent a lot of time setting financial goals and thinking ahead to the future. Because of this, you’re making decisions in the moment, with little to no regard about the impact it could have on your financial trajectory. As a result, you may find that you feel like you can’t afford things, your future is hopeless, or life is just “too expensive” and any type of security feels out of reach.
This approach to your finances will not work long-term. Eventually, the other shoe will drop and you’ll be in a position where you have no control over the direction of your life.
It doesn’t need to be like this, and you can change your future by putting together a plan.
The key to financial success is creating a thoughtful and realistic plan. It isn’t about making more money or never spending any money again. It’s about being proactive, thinking ahead, and preparing for the unexpected, even if you don’t know what that is just yet!
If you’re ready to put together your own money saving plan, and need guidance to do so, check out the Break Your Budget Blueprint, my signature course for navigating your financial journey.