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Use the Enthusiasm of a New Year to Automate & Guarantee Savings in 2010

new years resolution on sticky notes

2010 is here along with new resolutions and hope that better times are ahead. Unfortunately, history shows we’re not too good at sticking with our new year’s resolutions.

According to the Fox affiliate, Fox50.com: “By the end of the year, [ ] nearly 97 percent of New Year’s resolutions won’t be kept.”

It’s also shown that what Americans really want is to do better with their money in 2010. According to US News & World Report only reducing stress (65%) was a more preferred resolution to saving money (63%) this year.

So 63% of us want to improve our money situation, but only 3% of our resolutions will succeed. Pretty grim numbers. So how do we go about fixing this and actually succeeding this year?By taking advantage of the enthusiasm of the new year and automating finances with an online savings account in January, we can throw our lack of willpower aside and guarantee our money will be properly saved every month for the entire year and beyond.According to Fox50.com: “64% of resolutions will be broken by January”.

Therefore, get your money and savings set up early in January, when the freshness of the new year is still with you, and you can forget about it for the rest of the year. As long as you don’t mess with the savings schedule, your resolution will be complete in January.

You’ll be able to laugh at the extra cars parked at the gym in January and Feruary because your goal will be set and taken care of every month with no work involved. Here’s how to do it. In order to properly save your money in 2010, you need to have the right financial accounts in place. I’ll show you how to easily save more with just an ING Direct’s savings account and your local bank’s checking account.

Go to ING’s account page and open an Orange Savings Account. It’s a painless 4 step process that according to their website is pretty quick:

The third step of the sign-up process is the most important because it will ask you to fund your account from another account. Use the checking account your paycheck is deposited into every 2 weeks or month to fund your new savings account. This will link the two accounts so that later you can make automatic monthly transfers with no problem. All you’ll need is your bank account number and the bank’s routing number and you’re set for this step.

$25 Hint: ING has some great referral programs for bigger blogs. If you’re going to start an account, head over to Adam Baker’s site at Man vs. Debt and use one of his ING links. If you deposit at least $250 into the account, you get a free $25 back.

At this point you should be set up with your new savings account. Hopefully your new year’s enthusiasm is still on high because you’ll be done with this process in ten minutes.

On the main page, under the My Accounts tab, you’ll see a button that reads Automatic Savings Plan. Here’s a screen shot of what you should see with a big unavoidable arrow to help you out. Click that button and you’ll be taken to the Automatic Savings Plan page.

Here you set up your transfer from your checking account to your savings account. Let’s assume you make $3,000 every month and you want to save 20% of your monthly paycheck in 2010. Put $600 in the “I would like to transfer” area and select from your checking account to your savings account.

The frequency is important because you want it to match up with your pay day. You have four choices with frequency: Weekly, Bi-Weekly, Fifteenth and End of Month, or Monthly.

If you get paid once a month on the 15th, choose “Monthly” and set the start date for 3 or 4 days after your pay day in case your check doesn’t clear for some reason. You don’t need to set an end date since this will be done the entire year and then some.

If you get paid twice a month, your frequency will look a little different. You can either choose Bi-Weekly (twice a month) if you don’t want to tempt yourself with extra cash in your checking account, or choose Monthly and just wait until after the second paycheck to set the transfer.

That’s it. You’re done. Your savings is set up and as long as the paychecks keep coming and you let the Automatic Savings Plan do its job, you’re good to go.

It’s important to follow your savings progress though.

I suggest setting up a Google Calendar event reminder so you can check the progress is three or four months. Google Calendar is what I use because it allows me to set email reminders and provides a lot of options for frequency of events. You can use whatever calendar application you want, but create an event for three months from the day you set up the transfer.

Here is what an event and a reminder looks like on my calendar:

Every 3 months I’ll get an email that says “check ING savings progress”. From there, I can sign into my account and make sure my transfers are working properly, make any savings adjustments – maybe more, maybe less – and then move on.

The best part? It’ll only take you five minutes every three months to check up on your progress.

Before you know it, December 2010 will be here and you’ll have saved $7,200 from your salary and achieved your savings goals. All it takes is fifteen minutes in January and five minutes in April, August, and December to make this goal a reality.

Good luck and happy new year!

How do you make sure you save every month?

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