Resist temptation! How to continue saving with discipline

If you cannot walk past the latest fashions, and need to don a blindfold on the way to buying a lunchtime sandwich, stop right there!

For those with a master goal in mind, such as a house deposit, a car or a big holiday ... or even just accumulating a lump sum, dipping in to saved funds can mean your dreams become long delayed.

Even taking out regular small amounts can mean years of careful investment reduced to a pile of nothing - all on a whim. It's so important to keep your master goal well in sight. If you're feeling tempted, take a look at some of these hints to help you resist the urge.

Pretend it's not there
Forget about it! And what's more, add to your memory loss by having an automatic deduction taken out of your pay each month. If you've never seen it, you'll never notice it's gone. That way, when you do find you need extra cash, you won't even consider dipping into your treasure trove.

Get a loan to tide you by
Usually, the discipline of paying back a financial institution or a family member can be much more binding than paying yourself back. So if you really do need extra funds, consider taking out a loan. If you aim to pay it off quickly, the interest charges won't hurt too much - and if you're lucky, a family member may even give you a special rate. And remember, loans usually charge cheaper interest rates than credit cards, so think twice before you flash the plastic.

Put off your reason to 'dip'
Do you really and absolutely need this money now? If it's money for a holiday you're after, think about saving up for it - in real time. Set your goal for the future and work out how long it would take to reach there, given how much extra you can afford to save each month. It may be quicker than you think - and give you extra time for holiday planning. And at the end of it all, you'll still have your investment money growing in value.

Start a separate savings account for short term goals/emergencies
It's a good idea not to tie up all your money - after all, we're all human and need a splurge now and again. We also never know when an emergency may strike. Allocate a portion of your salary to this account and watch it grow over time. Holidays, clothes, emergencies, gifts - whatever it is you need - can come out of this extra easy-to-access account. A cash management account is a good option for easy access with good interest rates.

Protect yourself against the possibility
Sometimes, we have no control over life's little emergencies. When people become unexpectedly ill or cannot work for a time, money runs out fast and they have little choice but to "dip in". Protect yourself against this happening by taking out the basics of protection - income protection and trauma insurance. Then, should the unforeseen happen, your hard earned wealth will be protected. Not only that, all of your living expenses will be covered until you are well enough to return to work.

Live lean for a couple of months
It's amazing how much you can save by giving up on a few luxuries. Say you forego one takeaway meal a week. That would save you around $1000 a year - and that's surely no hardship! Add to that any extra small purchases you make every day and over a year, it can add up to a sizeable sum. Take a look at the things you purchase each week that you could really do without. Magazines, chewing gum, flowers, coffees, the extra few drinks at the pub, taxi fares - that sort of thing. Be disciplined and carry this through for a few - or even six months - carefully putting away this unused money. You may be amazed at how much you could end up with.

OK ... if you really have to ... pay yourself back
Well, we've tried our best. But if you really need the money - congratulations on having some put away. But pay yourself back! And not only the amount you took out, but try to put some extra in too.

Ask your question
To ask your question about financial planning, or for a referral to a financial adviser, take a look at Zurich's Females in Finance site. You can also take a look at existing questions and answers.