Happy Friday everyone! Isn't it the best starting out the work week after a long holiday weekend? Everything seems to go by so much quicker! Anyway, today is a post I am actually very excited about because it's something that I'm currently doing and have been very consistent with.
Saving money has always been really hard for me...partly because I had huge tuition bills every month when I was in school, and partly because I love to shop. Can you tell? 😉 A few months ago I decided that after graduation I was going to make myself a budget and goals on how much I wanted to save every week. I am saving up for an apartment and have a loose deadline for when I want to move out, so I made my plan based on that. I wanted to give some tips today on how to start saving money, because even though it seems like something that would be very obvious and easy, that isn't always the case! Here are some steps that helped me...
HOW TO SAVE...FAST
1. Make an end goal - whether you are saving up a trip, a car, tuition, or an apartment like me, having a action plan is essential. I suggest starting out by adding up all the costs to find out what your end goal will be. So if you're going on a vacation, this might include your flight, hotel, food, etc. For me, I added up costs per month which included estimated rent, phone bill, car insurance, electricity, internet, and my Pure Barre contract. Once I had that monthly number, I decided that I wanted to save three times that amount + extra money for furniture. My current goal is to have enough money saved up for three months of all of those bills plus the furniture by the end of this summer. Having an end goal about how much you want to save and by when really helps make it possible!
2. Make a plan - once I had my goal number and when I wanted it by, making a budget plan to get there was super easy. When I looked at the actual number of how much I wanted to save, it made me really nervous and seemed completely impossible. That's a lot of money to save up! However, once I started to break it down by the months and then weeks, it seemed a lot more doable. Since I knew how much I wanted to save, I divided that number up by weeks since I get paid every Friday. I then figured out how much I needed to save each week to reach my goal...which really wasn't nearly as bad as I thought. I can say that I have been doing this now for almost 2 months, and I have even more saved that I planned to!
3. Open a second savings account - one thing I wanted to avoid was taking money out of my actual savings account to pay for my rent and future bills. To combat this, I ended up opening a second savings account and giving it a specific name. Every week, I put the budgeted amount to reach my goal into my second savings account, and I put any extra money in my normal savings account. It's the BEST feeling seeing both of those numbers growing each week!
4. Make a weekly budget - to take it one step farther, I also have a weekly budget that I stick to. Out of all these steps, this one may be the thing that has helped me stay on track the most! I was actually doing this long before I started saving into the third account and it's so nice having everything planned out. As I mentioned before, I get paid every Friday from my normal job and every Monday from my side job. Each Sunday I make a plan for the upcoming week. Since I know in advance how many hours I will be working, I can make a pretty accurate estimate on how much I will be making that week. Once I have the amount of money, I divide it into the separate segments which include my Checking Account, Savings Account, my second Savings Account, and my Discover card. I start out by putting in the budgeted amount for my second savings, if I have a balance on my Discover card I will make a payment on that, then extra money gets divided into my Savings and Checking account. I also have a schedule for all my bills for the month such as my Pure Barre contract, my Ipsy bag, and any blog payments I may have. Having everything written out makes it so much easier to stay on schedule with payments! At the end of the week I already know how much money is going into every account and it saves me so much time and energy!
Here is an example of how mine looks...obviously no numbers are plugged in but you will get a feel for what it looks like...
MONEY SAVING TIPS
1. Try to spend money on food only once a week. Obviously if you buy your own groceries that would be a little different. But I have been trying to only spend once a week either going out to a restaurant or buying fast food. Not as easy as it may seem!
2. Wait to spend extra money at the end of the week. This has been one of the hardest things for me so far. Before I started this, I was definitely impulse buying a lot more than I am now. Currently I get paid every Friday so now I wait until I have put money in both savings accounts, paid for gas or any balances on my credit card, and then if there is money left over, that's when I will buy extra things. It has been a struggle, but I'm definitely getting better!
3. Save up your change! I think this is one of the easiest things you can do to save a little extra cash, but a lot of people get rid of their change! Keep a jar and drop in any extra change you are carrying around. After a while, put them into rolls and bring them to the bank.
4. If you have a side job or do something like babysitting a few times a month, I would suggest considering putting that extra money into your savings account! I have a side job doing social media and I decided that money from that will always go directly into my savings. Anytime I try to sell clothes I usually put that money into the third account as well! These little things really add up and can help you reach your goal faster!
This may seem like a lot of information and I am obviously not an expert on this subject, but these easy little tips have definitely helped me out so far...and I hope they will help you! Even if that means just getting started! Let me know if you have any other budget tips...I would love to hear them.