As the gardening season starts, we may want to plant seeds of wealth alongside the tomatoes to be able to afford that nice olive oil when it comes time to make the marinara sauce both literally and metaphorically.
Technology can help us do that, it can help us commit to saving and investing! Wouldn’t saving and investing be so much easier if you didn’t have to think about it, if everything was automated and it just did it on its own?
This Earth Day why don’t you consider taking a more holistic approach to your money? The key to growing both wealth and crops is consistency. What is more consistent than automated saving and investing? Plants need to be regularly watered and so too does your bank account.
The first thing that I recommend doing is opening a checking account as well as a savings account, if you don’t have them already. Set up weekly automatic transfers from your checking to your savings, it doesn’t have to be much, whatever you don’t think you won’t miss. So, if you were going to spend $5 on a coffee this week, take that $5 and make that your automatic transfer. After a month or two if you haven’t missed that $5, add a second $5 automatic transfer, now you’re saving $10 a week without even feeling it! Keep adding automatic transfers every couple of months. You will gradually train yourself to live on less and save more. The trick to this method is starting small, don’t go big and overwhelm yourself. It will never work if you can’t stick to it. Plants take time to grow so think about this as you would your gardening. you don’t expect your plants to burst out of the ground fully-formed, of course not, it takes time for them to get that way. The same goes for your savings, don’t think about it as, “I don’t have enough to save that it makes sense to start”, think about it as “I have a $5 bill that I won’t miss and therefore I’m going to save it instead of spending it on something frivolous”.
Another thing to think about is moving your savings accounts to an online bank. You can use sites to find the best bank for you. My personal favorite is NerdWallet! Make sure that bank you choose is FDIC insured and gives you the best interest rate possible. To put it in perspective, I’ve made more interest in one month by putting my savings in an online bank than I had made all year in brick and mortar banks! When we think of opening a bank account we think of walking into a concrete establishment. Consider this: Online banks have much lower operating costs than regular banks with storefronts. These banks will often share their savings with their customers, by having higher interest rates, no minimum balances, or service fees. It might not seem like a lot, but those few extra dollars can add up to a lot in the long run.
What about investing, you ask. Did you know that you could do the same thing with investments? For the average investor it’s not about trying to time the markets and buy large quantities of stock when you have the money to do so and the market is right. It’s about setting up weekly or monthly automated transfers into your investments. Sometimes you’re going to buy when the market’s a little high, sometimes you’re going to buy when the market’s a little low but it’ll average out and in the long run this will allow your money to have the time to grow into something significant. This method of investment is called dollar cost averaging. it’s an investment technique that I personally use ‘cuz it’s a no brainer! This technique might be familiar to you if you have a 401k, it’s based on the same idea you’re putting smaller sums of money on a regular basis into your portfolio of investments so that at the end when you’re ready for that money it’s going to be something greater than what you put in. Investments need time to grow so don’t wait to start!
Your money is like the growing vegetables in your garden, you have to start small, water it often, and don’t expect to use it till it ripens. If you change your money mindset then you will soon be able to feast on the fruits of your labor. This year when you are eating that delicious homemade marinara sauce, put a smile on your face because you’ve taken a major step towards a healthy relationship with your money.