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By Janie Ginocchio

We’ve recently talked about taking advantage of a new savings opportunity in Arkansas by using split direct deposit for state tax refunds, and in previous blog posts we’ve talked about making a New Year’s resolution to save as well as best practices for creating a successful savings plan.

Today I want to talk about a way to help you follow through with your plan: making a public commitment to take a specific action. Behavioral economics research shows that making a public pledge can effectively counteract the difficulty and lack of motivation that people often experience when trying to change their behavior. To put it simply, public pledges can serve as a positive form of peer pressure. If people are aware of your intention to save, then you’re more likely to keep saving so you can meet your and their expectations. Also, if you make a public pledge with others, it helps you feel like you’re in it together, and you can give and get support when things get hard.

Anyone can make a public pledge to save. For the last several years, the governors of Arkansas and Mississippi have made public their states’ commitment to saving by proclaiming the last week in February as Arkansas/Mississippi and Military Saves Week in conjunction with America Saves Week, which is scheduled for Feb. 22-26, 2021.

If you’re interested in making a public pledge to save, you can takes the America Saves pledge. Not only do you sign your name to the pledge, but you’re also asked to set a savings goal and make a plan. You can sign up for text messages from America Saves to help keep you on track throughout the year. The America Saves site also has a number of resources to help you in your journey to saving.

So grab a friend or family member, and commit to making a savings pledge together for 2021. It will be one of the best things you do all year.