Take our quiz to find out what kind of saver you are and get ideas to maximize your savings.
Whether you’re aiming to take a vacation, buy a new car or retire comfortably, it’s important to have some money set aside. But as a Harvard Business School savings expert notes, there’s no “one-size-fits-all savings solution.” Take our quiz to find out your savings style and get personalized tips on how you could save more effectively.
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Your savings style is: Frugal
You’re a saver who takes pleasure in organizing their savings and watching them grow. You set financial goals and have a plan for reaching them. To maximize your savings:
- Make sure you have a few short-term savings goals along with long-term ones, or set short-term milestones for the long-term goals. A study published in Psychological Science found that people started saving earlier (and saved more) when they thought of their savings deadlines in terms of days, not months or years.
- Be proud of your savings. Telling family and friends about your goals not only means they can help hold you accountable, but your enthusiasm for saving might inspire someone else to take charge of their own finances.
Your savings style is: Investor
You’re someone who would rather pay for quality now and save money in the long run. You’re a savvy shopper who enjoys researching purchases and you know the value of a good vacation. To maximize your savings:
- Turn savings into a gift for others. Start a tradition of buying bonds for children on their birthdays or simply making regular contributions to an account in their name. A Harvard Business School study found that people invested more in savings bonds when buying them for children or grandchildren—possibly because buying bonds for someone else reframed the less-exciting act of saving as the more-exciting prospect of “giving a gift.”
- Try going all-cash for a month or two to get a more concrete idea of your spending. Without the ease of plastic, you’ll be more conscious of each purchase you make (and may find you have a little more than usual left over at the end of that period).
Your savings style is: Thrifty
You’re someone who saves a lot by virtue of simply not spending money. You have a clear idea of your wants versus your needs and are able to resist the immediate thrill of a sale. To maximize your savings:
- Suspend your self-control occasionally and, say, treat yourself to a nice dinner if you’ve already sprung for a vacation. (Studies have shown that experiences make us happier than things, so you’re getting great value for the money spent on that dinner.) If you focus too much on just not spending money, you’ll miss out on one of life’s great pleasures: splurging every once in a while.
- Be active about saving instead of trusting that your conservative spending habits will always leave you with something left over. Studies have shown that people actually save more when they have specific goals in mind, like buying a car or remodeling a house, and purposefully set funds aside to meet those goals.
1) How do you keep track of your spending?
2) You notice the springs are poking out of your sofa. What do you do?
3) How much of your salary will you save this year?
4) You just bought a new outfit last week, but now your favorite store is having a 50% off sale. Do you buy something?
5) How are you saving for retirement?
6) Many financial experts recommend having an emergency fund equivalent to a few months’ salary. Where do you keep yours?
7) Imagine your first child is about to turn three. If you’re honest with yourself, what’s your college savings situation?
8) You’re on vacation and looking for a place to eat dinner. You choose:
Need some more help getting your savings in order? Check out 4 Simple Ways to Save for the Future.