Each of us has our own agenda in terms of what makes stashing our cash away worthwhile. For some of us, it’s the anticipation of doing something fun or buying something beautiful. For others, it’s all about using our cash to secure some quality of life and peace of mind.
Regardless of what gets you saving, you’ll look forward to snagging that reward. You’ll deal with a bit of deprivation to get to your goal, whether you’re stashing funds to buy a new computer, a used convertible, or cool new shoes. And even if what you’re working towards isn’t so fun (think retirement funds to ensure your future), you’re bound to be honing your saving skills. You’re likely boosting your financial wellness as well.
Here, learn more about how to save for items that are well worth your time and effort. Plus, we’ll share 25 ideas to inspire you to amp up your savings account.
Why Saving Is Important
The importance of saving cannot be overstated; it’s a very big part of successful money management. Consistently putting away cash can make a major difference over time, especially in your quality of life. By planning and prioritizing what expenses to fund, you’ll have the means to achieve your goals. It’s incredibly rewarding when you make a plan for your money and then realize it.
To jump start your savings, try one of these creative strategies for turbocharging your savings.
• Budget first. The mere mention of the word budget can stress some people out, but a budget is simply a plan for how you will spend your money. Having a strategy in place can really help keep your spending and savings on track. There are a number of methods you can use to budget, including the good old cash envelopes system and the 50/30/20 rule, as well as a number of mobile apps. Research your options online, and find the one that works best for you.
• Automate savings. One of the easiest ways to ensure you’re saving toward your goal may be to automate it. This can take much of the stress out of saving. For instance, you could set up an automatic bank transfer from your checking to your savings account every payday.
• Save consistently. Over time, you have a great chance of meeting your goal. Maybe it’s only $5 or $25 a pop, but contributing to your savings account regularly is vital. Be consistent and trust the process.
• Save bonuses, tax returns, and other unexpected windfall amounts. These extras can give your savings account a tremendous boost.
• Match your own purchases. For every amount that you spend on a treat, transfer that same amount into savings.
• Save every $5 bill. By setting aside every $5 bill you encounter (as change from a purchase, from an ATM, etc.), you can save quite a bit in a year’s time.
• Use the 30-day rule to control impulse purchases. Write down that shiny new thing you want, whether it’s a pricey new mobile phone or a designer bag, and wait 30 days to see if you still want it. You may find that your urge to spend on it has passed. If so, you can put the money you save this way into savings to fund something that’s on your wishlist.
Recommended: How Much of Your Paycheck Should You Save?
25 Smart Items to Save Up for
Spending money according to your own personal preferences — whether it’s a vacation, a new car, or a comfortable home for your family — should be the driving force behind your saving goals. This is how to make saving fun: Make a list of cool things to save up for. Create a vision board if you prefer; the idea is to entice yourself to perhaps pass up some unnecessary spending (takeout meals, a multitude of streaming services) and achieve those things you really crave. Not sure what to start saving for? Here are 25 ideas to get you going.
You may have heard that vacations are good for both your physical and mental health. Even the act of looking forward to a vacation can improve your happiness. Whether the vacation you crave is a week at a nearby beach, a long weekend with your college besties, or a jaunt through Europe, the prospect of travel can be great motivation to save money.
2. Brand New Electronics
Buying new electronics isn’t just a leisure pursuit. New electronics can help with your productivity and ability to earn an income (or a higher one). It may be worth it to you to save for and invest in tools, such as a new laptop or video equipment, that can make your life better.
3. Starting a Business
If starting a business and becoming your own boss is a dream of yours, savings can go a long way toward making it happen. In fact, out of businesses that fail, 38% say it’s because they ran out of cash. Start accumulating capital so you can hopefully avoid becoming part of that statistic.
4. Investing in Real Estate
Want to invest in real estate? Whether it’s a REIT (real estate investment trust), a rental property, or other type of vehicle, you’ll need some cash to get started. Directly owning an investment property, for example, means you may need 15% for a down payment on a conventional loan.
This is a popular motivation to save. Most people dreaming of their big day know that it doesn’t come cheap. The average cost of a wedding in 2021 was $28,000, according to one survey. Saving for this expense means you can celebrate the special day with loved ones, just the way you want to, while minimizing money stress.
6. Investing in Index Funds
Many people dream of having a financial portfolio that pumps out earnings. Index funds may be able to help you create a diversified portfolio at a low cost. Putting money in an investment fund can help you make your money work for you and achieve your financial goals.
7. Brand New Car
Most people need wheels to get around, but cars aren’t just about function. Maybe you are dreaming of a low-slung sports car or an SUV that’s ready to offroad. When you get the keys to a new car, you’ll likely know that your time and energy spent saving was worth it.
8. Down Payment on a Home
Saving for a home is a top priority for many and for good reason. The typical homeowner who purchased a property just five years ago would see a $144,000 increase in their net worth. Aside from the potential financial benefits, owning your dream home is a major boost to your and your family’s quality of life.
9. Clothing and Shoes
There’s something about fresh clothes and shoes that can give you a psychological boost. For a household, costs averaged $1,434 for apparel for the year. Saving a little toward making yourself look good is one of the fun things you can save up for. It could be a whole wardrobe upgrade or a special splurge piece, but clothes can be excellent saving motivation.
If there’s something you enjoy doing in your free time, be sure to save enough money to fully invest yourself in the activity. Do you want a new acoustic guitar or perhaps a pottery wheel? Save for it. You may even be able to monetize your hobby or start a business from it.
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11. A Quality Mattress and Mattress Accessories
According to the CDC, one out of three Americans don’t get enough sleep. Being deprived of sleep can have a major impact on how you feel and function. Which is all the more reason to save for the comfiest mattress you can find.
12. Exercise Equipment
The right exercise equipment can help you make your health a priority and work out regularly. It’s not cheap, though. Equipment can cost as little as about $20 for a kettlebell or thousands for a top-of-the-line rowing machine or Pilates equipment.
13. Professional Lessons (Sports, Dancing, Cooking, etc.)
Whether you want to dance more smoothly or perfect your golf swing, saving toward developing those skills can bring a lot of joy and satisfaction.
So many people feel the thrill of pride and achievement when earning a college degree, and it can help fuel a career. But college costs are up 169% since 1980 — and there’s no telling how much further they’ll go. Saving toward these expenses, whether for yourself or your dependents, can help them get the education they need and dampen the blow of the cost of education.
15. Quality Home Appliances
Maybe you’d like to remove that old eyesore of a dishwasher and replace it with a top-notch new one, or swap out your old washer/dryer for an eco-friendly new model. Or, say, a professional-grade stove is calling to you to live out your gourmet dreams. Once you get the appliance you were dreaming about, you’ll likely feel that saving for it was worthwhile.
16. Home Security
While it may not exactly be a cool thing to save up money for, a home security system can give you amazing peace of mind. As a bonus, you may have fun doorbell footage to post on social media once you buy your system.
If you love shiny baubles, they can certainly be worth saving for. Maybe there’s a dream piece you’ve been pining for. With the cost of some custom jewelry ranging from $2,000 to $30,000, you’ll definitely want to have a plan to save for it.
18. Home Furniture
If you value updated and stylish furniture, you’ll want to put it on your list. New furniture can uplift the comfort, function, and look of your home. Not to mention, when (or if) you sell your home, it can possibly help your place fetch a higher sales price.
19. Events & Special Occasions (Concerts, Dinners, Sports Games, etc.)
Many of us look forward to making lifelong memories at special events, from a Stones concert to the Super Bowl to a local gala. These occasions can both entertain and help you feel connected to the people who accompany you. Indulging in tickets every now and then is an incredibly fun and cool thing to save up for.
20. Home, Car and Health Insurance
Putting money toward insurance premiums may not always be fun, but it may give you peace of mind. It helps you know that you’re covered in case of accidents, unexpected health problems, and natural disasters. Saving up to afford a policy is wise if you are, say, planning to buy a house or car or are prepping for a big live event, like marriage or becoming a parent.
Saving for retirement is a critical part of your financial health. A Federal Reserve survey found that only 36% of workers felt their retirement savings were on track. If you want to give yourself a healthy cushion for some of the most vulnerable years of your life, you may want to add to your retirement savings. While it doesn’t give you a tangible payoff now, you may rest easier knowing you’re prepared for tomorrow.
Have someone (or something) special you want to celebrate? Put aside some money to do it up right, especially if it’s a nice round number that’s coming up. It’s up to you whether the funds go towards a gift, a trip, or a special night out with friends and family.
23. Repairs and Remodels
Home improvements can make your home more comfortable and functional but they are likely a major expense. With the average remodel topping $47,000, it will take quite a chunk of change to make it happen. Saving for this type of cost can help you turn your place into the showplace you know it can be.
Celebrating birthdays is a fantastic way to nurture the relationships in your life. Maybe it’s with a candlelit dinner or tickets to a show, but it can be a great excuse to save and then spend some cash.
Creating holiday memories is important for many of us. Saving up for the holidays and seeing your vision for your family come to life can be incredibly rewarding. A Gallup poll found that Americans plan to spend around $886 on Christmas gifts each year. On top of this, Americans are spending $231 on things like decorations and food and another $118 on other purchases. Stashing some cash in advance can help alleviate stress during the most wonderful time of the year.
Banking With SoFi
Focusing on a wish-list item can give you the motivation and discipline to start saving. Of course, the goal will vary with each person. One person may want a trip to Bali, another may need a new car, and a third may be focused on getting a down payment together for a home. Whatever the goal, saving for an important purchase can be a great way to build your financial skills and elevate your quality of life.
If you want a partner to help you save, consider opening a SoFi bank account. You can earn a competitive APY when you open Checking and Savings with direct deposit. There are automatic savings features too, and you won’t pay any account fees.
How can I develop the mindset to save long-term?
To develop a mindset to save for the long term, be sure to start with a goal. Brainstorm some cool or vital things to save up for. Then, automate regular transfers to your savings account. If you don’t see that money in your checking account, you likely won’t spend it.
Is saving money long-term hard?
Saving can be hard, and even a small amount stashed regularly can make a big difference in your financial wellness. The Federal Reserve reports the average household saving rate in early 2022 was 5%. It may not be a huge amount, but it can be a good start.
How do I make saving money easier?
Saving money is easier when you have a plan in place. Automating money transfers to your savings account when your paycheck hits is one easy way to start saving towards something fun. You can also experiment with different budgeting methods to help “find” more money to put into your savings.
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SoFi members with direct deposit activity can earn 4.50% annual percentage yield (APY) on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% APY on checking balances. Direct Deposit means a deposit to an account holder’s SoFi Checking or Savings account, including payroll, pension, or government payments (e.g., Social Security), made by the account holder’s employer, payroll or benefits provider or government agency (“Direct Deposit”) via the Automated Clearing House (“ACH”) Network during a 30-day Evaluation Period (as defined below). Deposits that are not from an employer or government agency, including but not limited to check deposits, peer-to-peer transfers (e.g., transfers from PayPal, Venmo, etc.), merchant transactions (e.g., transactions from PayPal, Stripe, Square, etc.), and bank ACH funds transfers and wire transfers from external accounts, do not constitute Direct Deposit activity. There is no minimum Direct Deposit amount required to qualify for the stated interest rate.
SoFi members with Qualifying Deposits can earn 4.50% APY on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% APY on checking balances. Qualifying Deposits means one or more deposits that, in the aggregate, are equal to or greater than $5,000 to an account holder’s SoFi Checking and Savings account (“Qualifying Deposits”) during a 30-day Evaluation Period (as defined below). Qualifying Deposits only include those deposits from the following eligible sources: (i) ACH transfers, (ii) inbound wire transfers, (iii) peer-to-peer transfers (i.e., external transfers from PayPal, Venmo, etc. and internal peer-to-peer transfers from a SoFi account belonging to another account holder), (iv) check deposits, (v) instant funding to your SoFi Bank Debit Card, (vi) push payments to your SoFi Bank Debit Card, and (vii) cash deposits. Qualifying Deposits do not include: (i) transfers between an account holder’s Checking account, Savings account, and/or Vaults; (ii) interest payments; (iii) bonuses issued by SoFi Bank or its affiliates; or (iv) credits, reversals, and refunds from SoFi Bank, N.A. (“SoFi Bank”) or from a merchant.
SoFi Bank shall, in its sole discretion, assess each account holder’s Direct Deposit activity and Qualifying Deposits throughout each 30-Day Evaluation Period to determine the applicability of rates and may request additional documentation for verification of eligibility. The 30-Day Evaluation Period refers to the “Start Date” and “End Date” set forth on the APY Details page of your account, which comprises a period of 30 calendar days (the “30-Day Evaluation Period”). You can access the APY Details page at any time by logging into your SoFi account on the SoFi mobile app or SoFi website and selecting either (i) Banking > Savings > Current APY or (ii) Banking > Checking > Current APY. Upon receiving a Direct Deposit or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits to your account, you will begin earning 4.50% APY on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% on checking balances on or before the following calendar day. You will continue to earn these APYs for (i) the remainder of the current 30-Day Evaluation Period and through the end of the subsequent 30-Day Evaluation Period and (ii) any following 30-day Evaluation Periods during which SoFi Bank determines you to have Direct Deposit activity or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits without interruption.
SoFi Bank reserves the right to grant a grace period to account holders following a change in Direct Deposit activity or Qualifying Deposits activity before adjusting rates. If SoFi Bank grants you a grace period, the dates for such grace period will be reflected on the APY Details page of your account. If SoFi Bank determines that you did not have Direct Deposit activity or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits during the current 30-day Evaluation Period and, if applicable, the grace period, then you will begin earning the rates earned by account holders without either Direct Deposit or Qualifying Deposits until you have Direct Deposit activity or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits in a subsequent 30-Day Evaluation Period. For the avoidance of doubt, an account holder with both Direct Deposit activity and Qualifying Deposits will earn the rates earned by account holders with Direct Deposit.
Members without either Direct Deposit activity or Qualifying Deposits, as determined by SoFi Bank, during a 30-Day Evaluation Period and, if applicable, the grace period, will earn 1.20% APY on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% APY on checking balances.
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