PICTURE THE LIFESTYLE YOU WANT
“Have a specific goal and envision the lifestyle you’ll be able to have if you stick to it,” says financial adviser Ric Edelman, author of The Truth About Money ($20, amazon.com). This will make financial cutbacks more palatable and keep you both motivated and focused on your goal. So whether you’re saving for a home, retirement, or a new car, find pictures that represent your dream, and keep them in view—on your fridge, pinned to a bulletin board, or even on Pinterest. The more you are reminded of your goal, the more motivated you’ll be. You may even want to tour houses like the one you want or take a look at your ideal car.
THINK BEFORE YOU BUY
“When you’re about to make a purchase, ask yourself this: Is it a need or a want?” suggests personal finance expert Suze Orman, author of The Money Class: How to Stand in Your Truth and Create the Future You Deserve ($16, amazon.com). “If you answer with honesty, you will save money.”
GO TO BOOT CAMP
Financial boot camps take a fast-paced, tough-love approach to providing enrollees with financial knowledge and the skills they need to make changes. “Joining a financial boot camp can mean learning finance basics with other like-minded people, who will tell you to get back on your horse if you flub it,” says money expert Lynnette Khalfani-Cox, founder of AsktheMoneyCoach.com and author of The Money Coach’s Guide to Your First Million ($25, amazon.com). Two money boot camps to try: LearnVest.com and MyMoneyCircles.com.
GO ON A SPENDING DIET
“Designate two days a week as no-spend,” says Pauline Wallin, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist and author of Taming Your Inner Brat: A Guide for Transforming Self-Defeating Behavior ($19, amazon.com). Pay only for essentials, like bus fare or tolls for work, and skip using money on nonessentials like coffee or lunches out or candy bars—or any of the other little things we waste money on. “Knowing that you’re not frittering money away will boost your self-control,” says Wallin.
TRICK YOURSELF INTO SAVING
This coming year, people’s paychecks are due to be reduced by about 2 percent because the temporary cut in the Social Security tax is set to expire on December 31. “Use the adjustment to a new paycheck amount to your benefit and put some savings on automatic pilot,” advises Nevin Adams, director of the American Savings Education Council (choosetosave.org). His theory: Since you’ll already be making an adjustment, you may not miss the other dollars you’ll sock away.