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Do you ever ask yourself that question when you hear advice on the importance of saving? Does saving feel like something you should do, but you struggle to understand why it relates to your life right now? Do you work towards savings but find yourself wondering, “what’s the point?”
Whether it’s because of how hard it can be to pay bills and have money left over for anything or because you don’t have an immediate goal in mind, staying motivated to save can be hard. Savings is right up there with eating healthy and working out. We all know we should do these things. But more often than not eating pizza and watching a movie just sounds a lot more fun.
The problem with trying to save is simple: it delays gratification. Unless you’re putting money away for something exciting like travel or a down payment on a home, it can be hard to remember why you’re saving your money instead of spending it. So, if saving is important to you? The best way to stay motivated is to find the gratification in the habit. How can you do that? By establishing a freedom fund.
The Key to Savings Gratification: The Freedom Fund
So what is a freedom fund? It’s a savings account you set up to reach freedom in life, whatever that means to you. Maybe the freedom fund is a savings that will help you launch your own business or self-employment. Or maybe it’s a fund that will help you move to a place you’ve always dreamed of living. Maybe it’s a fund to lead you to early retirement. It could even be your down payment on a home or extra payments on your mortgage. The options are endless.
What does freedom look like to you?
While a freedom fund can’t be achieved overnight, it can still bring gratification to your life. With every dollar you deposit into your freedom fund, replay a mantra in your head:
This deposit equals:
- One less day at the job I hate.
- One more location in my world travel itinerary.
- One step closer to launching my own business.
- One month shaved off the life of my mortgage (and one month closer to owning my home outright).
Whatever it is you’re aiming for, boil the goal down to a sentence you can repeat every single time you make a deposit into your freedom fund. This will make it easier to continue working towards that savings when more immediately fun things like an extra night out with friends comes up.
How to Stay Motivated for Your Freedom Fund
You may have noticed that I mentioned making deposits into your freedom fund. This might sound counterintuitive to most of the advice out there, which tells you to automate your savings.
I’m all for automating your savings – and I think you should automate savings to your freedom fund – but there’s something to be said for making a deposit manually too.
Every time you move money from your checking account to your freedom fund savings account, you’re taking action. You’re doing something that will improve your quality of life – and over time that can be just as exciting as swiping your credit card to make a purchase. Actively moving money away from where it can be spent to a place that you’re saving just for you is the same as telling yourself that your dreams and desires are important. So important, in fact, that you’re taking action each and every month to make them happen.
Pretty Exciting, Right?
Instead of thinking, “I’ll never be able to afford to move,” or “Early retirement just isn’t in the cards for me,” you’re saying, “I’m going to make it happen.” Nothing is more empowering than taking control of your life and your decisions and walking step by step to the life you’ve always wanted.
So go ahead and automate savings to your freedom fund. But give yourself the opportunity to manually deposit money into it as well. You could set it up in a way that your first paycheck of the month gets split between your checking and savings and the second one is all to checking so you can move the money over. Or it could be that you deposit extra money you earn, either from a side gig or a larger payout like a tax refund.
If you combine automated and manual deposits like this, you’ll be able to work towards your goal every month while also feeling yourself make progress.
Keep Your Eye on the Prize
It could take months or even years to save for a freedom fund. Better yet, maybe you save in that fund for the rest of your life, understanding that freedom will continue to change over time. If you do that, you’ll always be ready for new opportunities that come your way.
That said, it’s never easy to consistently save for years without remembering why. That’s why it’s so important to keep your eye on the prize.
Repeat that mantra with every deposit. Print off a picture of whatever freedom means to you and put it in your wallet or on your desk. Do whatever makes sense to you to keep your eye on the prize. All it takes to continue the habit of savings is to remember why. Your freedom can always be the answer to that question.