6 Ways to Boost Your Motivation to Save Money

A man wearing an orange beanie holds money in front of his face.
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A lack of motivation can destroy the most well-intentioned plans to save money.

You can have all the financial literacy and even the surplus funds to make a dent in your savings goals, but if you lack the motivation, you can easily fall victim to the paycheck to paycheck lifestyle.

Saving money is often a marathon, not a sprint. Here are some helpful tips that’ll boost your motivation to save money.

6 Ideas to Keep You Motivated to Save Money

Use these tips as fuel to power you along on your savings journey.

1. Set SMART Goals

Set yourself up for success by creating savings goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and timely — otherwise known as SMART goals. This framework makes it more likely that you’ll actually achieve your goals.

It’s easier to stay focused on your savings journey when you clearly know what you’re trying to achieve, why it’s so important and that you’re actually capable of seeing it through.

2. Use Visual Reminders

Looking at visual representations of your savings goals on a regular basis will consistently remind you to stick to your plan to save money.

There are several different ways to make your savings goals visual. You can keep track of your savings progress in a bullet journal that you leave open on your desk each day. Or you might want to tape a special chart to your fridge that you incrementally color in each time you add to your savings.

Another option is to create a vision board with images that represent what you’re saving up for — like your dream home or an overseas vacation — so you’re often reminded of what you’re working toward.

3. Get an Accountability Partner

Not everyone has the self-discipline to stick to the savings plan they create for themselves. That’s why it’s beneficial to have an accountability partner.

An accountability partner is someone you trust to remind you of your goals and help you get back on track before you find yourself going adrift. Check in with your accountability partner regularly to discuss your wins and your struggles. Knowing that someone else is invested in seeing you reach your goal can be a great source of motivation.

In addition, you can always connect with like-minded individuals in The Penny Hoarder Community. Sharing your story and soliciting helpful feedback from others online can be just as motivating as having a personal accountability partner.

4. Start a Money-Saving Challenge

Participating in a money-saving challenge turns saving into a game — and gamification can make even the most dreaded tasks fun.

Whether you’re squirreling away every $5 bill you get in a Five Dollar Challenge or freezing all non-essential spending for 30 days with a No-Spend Challenge, money-saving challenges can help you make significant progress toward your goals.

Participating in one of these money challenges with a friend can give you even more fuel to stick with the savings habit.

5. Reward Yourself for Reaching Savings Milestones

Celebrating your progress toward your savings goals is a great incentive to keep going.

Start by breaking your overall goal into smaller chunks. For example, if you’re working toward adding $5,000 to your emergency fund, acknowledge when you reach the first $1,000 — and then after every additional $1,000 you add to the pot.

How you choose to reward yourself is up to you. It should be something that brings you joy, but that isn’t so extravagant that you sabotage your savings progress. Check out this list of 100 free things to do for some ideas for no-cost activities.

6. Use a Digital Tracker

Budgeting apps aren’t just for keeping tabs on how you’re spending your money. Some also include features that track your progress toward savings goals.

You can see how much you’ve saved up and how much more money you need to reach your goal without doing any math or manually shading in a bar graph.

Digital trackers also make it super easy to check in on your savings progress before making spending decisions that could derail your savings goal. Before ordering Uber Eats or buying another thing you don’t need on Amazon, take the extra few seconds to open your budgeting app on your smartphone to remind yourself why you ought to stick to your spending plan.

Nicole Dow is a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder.