Taking the pain out of saving

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Can saving be as much fun as spending?

Yes, if you adjust your thinking a little. Ultimately, saving allows you to spend later. If you think of saving as less of a chore and more as a goal-oriented achievement, it suddenly takes on a whole new meaning.

Here are some simple ways you can make saving fun.

Find a reason to save

With a goal in mind – a holiday, a new car or a deposit on a house – saving can be exciting and give you something to look forward to.

“The first thing you should do is set a goal,” says financial adviser Deborah Kent, owner of Integra Financial Services. “But never set a goal that’s too long. Set short-term goals so you can attack it in chunks – it’s more manageable that way.”

And have a bit of fun with it. If you’re saving for car, for example, put a photo of the car where you can see it and make a visual track showing how close you are to your goal.

Make it a game

It’s more fun playing with someone else, so challenge a family member or a friend to save with you for extra encouragement and fun. “Make it a wager,” says Kent. “Whoever saves the most that month wins and the loser cooks dinner or cleans the house of the winner.”

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Reward yourself

Saving only becomes a chore when you deny yourself. When you reach your first savings goal, reward yourself with a moderate shopping spree or other reward of your choice ­– but don’t go over the top.

You can also follow the example of one of Kent’s clients, who budgeted and saved diligently for three months at a time, then allowed herself a month off during which she could spend more on going out and shopping for clothes.

Indulge in low-cost activities

Go walking with friends, organise seaside picnics or attend art gallery openings – keeping active and busy with low-cost or free activities will take your mind off the idea that you are “depriving” yourself by saving.

Watch your money grow

Tracking your savings with a spreadsheet can be a lot of fun, especially as you get closer to your savings goal. “The fun becomes ‘look at what I’ve done’ and experiencing the goal,” says Kent.

Compare savings accounts to ensure you’re getting a competitive rate on your investment and use a savings calculator to help you see how fast you can achieve your goal. RateCity’s savings account calculator can be a great place to start.

Or you can step it up a notch by investing in the stock market, however potential investors should be sure to seek appropriate professional advice before diving in. “Depending on how long you’ve been saving, you could invest in shares,” Kent adds. “About $5000 might buy you a parcel of shares. Then you can enjoy the process of tracking your shares and understanding how the stock market works.”

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