Five Minute Finances #14: Set A Tangible Savings Goal – And A Reminder Of That Goal

Five Minute FinancesFive Minute Finances is a series of tips on how you can save significant money or reorganize your financial life in just five minutes. These tips appear Monday, Wednesday, and Friday on The Simple Dollar.

One big factor for saving money that many people miss out on is motivation. For me, constant reminders of what I’m saving money for help me greatly to avoid spending money on unnecessary things. Here’s a gameplan for quickly finding motivation for saving.

Find a picture online of what you’re saving for. For me, I found two pictures: one of a house that I really liked (saving for a down payment) and a picture of my toddler son (reducing debt and saving for college).

Figure out how much it will cost (approximately). I estimated the cost of a down payment and also the cost of about a third of a college education in about eighteen years. The numbers were quite large, but not so large that they felt unapproachable.

Print out a few copies of that picture with the cost as a caption. I printed out five copies of each one. I actually put the numbers in bold on each picture near the bottom.

Place that printout several places you will see it. I keep one or the other wrapped around my credit card in my wallet so that any time I plan to whip out plastic, I see my son’s face or the home I’d like to have and I rethink the purchase. I keep them in other places, too: on the dashboard in my truck and so forth.

These reminders were very easy to make and help keep me on pace for saving money.

Trent Hamm

Founder of The Simple Dollar

Trent Hamm founded The Simple Dollar in 2006 after developing innovative financial strategies to get out of debt. Since then, he’s written three books (published by Simon & Schuster and Financial Times Press), contributed to Business Insider, US News & World Report, Yahoo Finance, and Lifehacker, and been featured in The New York Times, TIME, Forbes, The Guardian, and elsewhere.