By: Laura Walton AFC®
Mason jars have been in kitchens for decades but recently they’ve taken on a new life. Touted on a holiday top-ten list of great gadgets are the new and improved lids designed to make them multi-purpose – there’s the flip top, the screen set for the flip top, the pour top, the convertible bug catcher top for kids and my fave, the savers’ kit.
The Mason jar savers’ kit? My friend, Heather Wuelpern, forwarded an idea from Pinterest several months ago that’s perfect to kick start your savings plan for 2016 and all you need is a Mason jar with this label as your guide:
Check it out. Your weekly savings will total $1,378 by year end! Better yet, the Mason jar savings challenge builds on some sound principles:
1) It creates a habit and habits are…habit forming. The habit of saving is particularly habit forming. After a couple of weeks of following this saving guide, you won’t want to disappoint yourself by skipping a week plus you’ve seen your balance start to grow. It’s a virtuous cycle – the more you do, the better the outcome. My sister-in-law recently blogged about her 30-day squat challenge which will end with her doing 250 squats on day 30. Pick your poison!
2) It provides a goal. The goal is $1,378 in savings by year end. I’d take it up a notch and decide exactly what you’ll do with that $1,378. A contribution to your IRA, pay down debt, add to your emergency fund or, if you’re already on track with those kinds of financial goals, something more tangible like a special getaway or pricey purchase you’ve been putting off. Make it real by posting your goal – financial or otherwise – on the backside of the jar.
3) It provides a specific path. After all, a goal without a plan is just a wish. You know exactly what you have to do to achieve your goal. And, you can be strategic. Look ahead. The last four weeks of the plan require that you put $202 into the jar and, if you start in January, those four weeks will be next December. With the holidays, an extra $202 might be tough to come up with. Maybe you’ll get a bonus between now and then or have some other kind of windfall gain. If so, knock off those last four weeks when you have the money in hand and make it easy on yourself next December.
4) It starts out slow. Chances of success in achieving long-term goals is improved if you don’t try to take on too much too fast. Starting with a dollar the first week is doable. And, depending on your circumstances and your goal, you might choose to start with less or more than a dollar.
5) It promotes conversation and buy in. It’s a way to get your significant other and/or family on board. It’s hard to talk about money; we all avoid the subject. But this makes a game of it and opens up a conversation about financial goals – what are your goals and how can you work together to save for them. This can be an invaluable lesson for kids.
6) Last but not least, it’s a gimmick. Gimmicks work to trick us into doing the things we need to do whether it’s diet, exercise, work projects, you name it. If you can find a gimmick that motivates you to get the job done and even makes a bit of a game out of it, all the better. You go!
Enjoy the holidays and if you get something in a Mason jar as a gift, you’ll know what to do with it when it’s empty!