Want to increase your savings by making small changes? Try these tips.

Saving isn’t easy when you pass by your favorite department store on the way home from work everyday. You may see the exit to your local mall from the freeway and think to yourself, “I didn’t spend too much on lunch today. Maybe I should get a new T-shirt!” If this is your mindset, it may be hard to see your savings account balance rise.

Next time, instead of spending without thinking, create a savings habit. Here’s how.

Put your savings goals in writing

Research has shown when you put goals in writing you have a higher chance of following through. Something about seeing the commitment in writing makes it a reality. Set a specific date by when you want to have reached your goal(s) and then sign it and post it where you will see it on a regular basis.

Recruit a savings buddy

Regularly reporting to a friend or family member who is also dedicated to saving gets you accustomed to having savings conversations and keeps the idea of accumulating cash at the forefront of your mind. Get into the habit of checking in with each other on a regular basis, which will keep you both on track with your goals.

Automate savings transfers

Creating an auto-withdrawal from your checking to your savings account is a no-brainer way of accumulating cash. Most banks and financial institutions will transfer a set amount of money at a predetermined time, such as weekly or monthly. If possible, aim for small deposits often, as repetition with more frequent deposits tends to cement the saving habit more successfully than occasional transfers, and coming up with small amounts of money is easier than large sums.

Examine spending motives

If you find you tend to sabotage your savings efforts with splurges, it’s time to take a close look at what initiates the spending. The next time you find yourself reaching for your credit card or dipping into your savings account, stop and examine how you’re feeling. Are you feeling anxious, stressed, nervous or happy? Acknowledging why and when you overspend makes you stop and think and will often squelch the desire to blow your budget.

Check balances regularly

Looking at your account on a frequent basis keeps you on task and accustomed to saving. Seeing the balance in your saving account rise motivates you to keep doing what you’re doing and is likely to compel you to save even more.

Start small

Lofty, hard-to-attain savings goals are likely to cause you to abandon your savings plan and slip back into old spending habits. You’re more likely to make saving part of your routine if your goals are realistic. Start out with an easily attained savings goal and gradually build up from there.

Give it time

Habits form after you repeat behaviors for at least two months. If you have a serious overspending problem, expect the new habit to take much longer to take a firm foothold in your life. Be patient and stay on task and you’ll eventually find that your first instinct is to save.

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