Financial futures are a concern for many recent graduates just starting their careers.  The majority of Americans do not contribute to a savings account on a monthly basis. This article will focus on five steps one can take to ensure they get in the habit of saving money on a monthly basis.

Invest in yourself

My father taught me at an early age to pay yourself.  After finishing graduate school and starting my first career, my father and I were going through my budget and the first thing he said is “make sure to pay yourself.”  Whether that means putting ten dollars away every month or $100 every month, make sure to set up an account that you are unable to withdrawal from. That account should grow and over time reflect the true value you have in yourself.

Have your company invest in you

If your employer offers a 401K account, sign up and negotiate the percentage they will contribute to.  Start with 5% and if you receive 3%, happily take it. This shows your employer that you value yourself and the company and avoids you being taken advantage as an employee.

Car payment

Whether you have a car payment or not, make sure to put funds aside for the necessities, such as transportation. I live in a commuter city. My daily commute is approximately twenty five minutes; a car is a must for me. Fortunately, I do not have a car payment; however that doesn’t stop me from contributing monthly to a “car payment.” Should the time come where I will need to invest in a new vehicle, I would like to have money set aside and possibly have the option to pay cash or a large deposit to lower the interest rate for an actual car payment.

Reward yourself

Identify something you would like and reward yourself each month you achieve contributing money to your savings. This can be something large such as a designer purse or something small like a coffee.  If I meet my monthly savings goals, I allow myself to buy a $14 pre-cut fruit bowl. I know, I know, simple, yet such a large reward in that I don’t have to cut up fruit and I enjoy it that much more.

Don’t go at it alone

With any goal you set for yourself, having someone hold you accountable is extremely helpful.  My boyfriend and I have many common interests, one of those include traveling. We have a desire to see the world. We recently decided we would love to have a recreational pilot’s license and we are working towards saving for that dream together. Not only do I hold myself accountable for saving, however I have someone else who does as well.

Making sure saving money a habit is difficult. It takes discipline, respecting yourself and others and determination to accomplish that goal. At the end of the day, saving monthly is a sign of respecting yourself. So put down the credit card and identify who you are, what you want for your future and how you are going to get it. Spend wisely.

Alexa S