Saving money is necessary, but that doesn't mean it's always going to be easy. If you want to enjoy the odd holiday, upgrade your car or have a comfortable retirement, you'd better make sure your savings account is clearly in the black!
New research from the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) shows successful savers employ particular techniques to help reach their savings goals.
"Savers who regularly review, remind themselves and publicly commit to their savings goals are those more likely to achieve them," said the ASIC's Miles Larbey.
So just what can you learn from the best savers?
Tip 1: Understand
First things first — you'll need to know exactly what you're saving for and how much money you'll need.
According to the ASIC's online poll, 78 percent of those who feel confident about meeting savings targets understand how much money they need.
Whether you're saving for Christmas presents or a deposit for a home loan, it's smart to understand just how much you need, whether the amount is big or small.
Tip 2: Plan
Once you've set a figure (whether for one savings goal or many), you need to implement a plan.
With three-quarters of confident savers putting a clear savings plan in place, it's easy to see why this might be a smart idea.
If you're a visual person, consider drawing a representation of what you're saving for — whether it's a car or house — on a piece of card. Divide the image into sections and shade off each section as you reach a designated savings goal, whether it's $100 or $1000. Be sure to stick this in a prominent place!
Perhaps you're a numbers person. If so, creating a spreadsheet of your incoming and outgoing costs is a smart idea. You can then work out how much you can save, how often.
Tip 3: Review
Close to three in four (73 percent) confident savers "regularly review progress towards their goal", according to the ASIC.
Even if you set up an automatic payment to put money into a designated savings account, make sure you consistently check up on how your savings habit is tracking.
Tip 4: Time
Are you saving for a special overseas trip or a wedding? It can be easy to push out dates if your savings aren't quite cutting the mustard.
According to the ASIC, 72 percent of confident savers set a specific saving timeframe.
Make sure you do the same — you may find the deadline is incredibly motivating!
Tip 5: Share
Finally, be sure to share your goals with family and friends — a habit of 43 percent of confident savers.
This doesn't mean you have to broadcast your bank account details to your Facebook friends, but telling your close relatives or good friend that you've got your eye set on homeownership, a round-the-world trip or new vehicle can help you stay up to date with your saving.