“I got a problem with spending before I get it…”- The Old Kanye
Throwback Kanye definitely was on to something. Like many 20 something-year-olds I know, saving money has not been a talent of mine. If my bills are paid and I have food in the fridge, chances are that a good portion of whatever money I had leftover was going towards some unnecessary splurging (as if splurging is ever really necessary right?).
It wasn’t until I moved back into my momma’s crib that I really understood how bad I truly was with not only spending money but also saving it. After working a month or 2, not paying rent and ending up just as broke at the end of the month as when I lived on my own, I knew it was time for me to make some changes. There just wasn’t an excuse for this.
I started off with my problem spending areas (cosmetics) then took it from there. Here are 9 KEY things I did differently last month that has helped me keep and grow the money in my savings account.
I saved a percentage % of EVERY PAYCHECK I received
Direct deposit is a gift and a curse but instead of letting all that money sit pretty in your checking account, transfer some to your savings. I started by saving 10% each check and now I’ve worked my way up (pretty quickly) to 25%. You’d be surprised how much your savings can build doing this alone.
I chose one thing that is my long term goal that I’m saving towards
For me, it’s moving from home into an apartment that I can love and adore. The frustrations of living at home alone has given me the motivation to get my financial act all the way TOGETHER.
I utilized my savings account and all of its perks
I’ve had a savings account for maybe 4 years now and I basically NEVER actually saved money in it. I have a savings account with Bank of America and it’s actually pretty dope. There isn’t a maintenance fee (as long as I transfer $25 from my BOA checking every month) and I have “keep the change” linked to my accounts which transfer a few coins here and there from my checking to my savings account when I make debit card purchases.
Ex. I make a debit card purchase for $25.38, the other 62 cents automatically goes into my savings account.
I did NOT dip into my savings, not one time for any reason
Straight like that. I only put in my savings account as much as I thought I could spare in order to stop myself from taking any money out of my savings. So far, so great.
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I stopped eating out and hitting happy hour like it was going out of style
I downloaded a budgeting app called MINT and one month it told me that I spent almost $400 on Bars & Restaurants (yes, you read that correctly). That, as you can see, is absolutely RIDICULOUS.
I created a budget and actually used it
No, I’m not pinching pennies but I did create a budget just to get a general idea of what income I have coming in, what expenses I have going out and how much wiggle room I realistically have to spend on the fun stuff. Don’t knock it, it really does help.
I put my debit card on timeout and started using cash ( I need to revisit this)
Debit cards are the devil. You just swipe without any true regard to what you can really afford to purchase. Instead, I came up with a set amount of spending money I should have for the week (on food, nails, non-essentials etc.), withdrew the cash and ONLY spent that. When you have cash on hand and you slowly see those $20 bills turning into $1 bills, you know you have done too much and you’re officially cut off until the next week starts.
I held myself accountable
If I came across a little extra $$$, I spent some and saved most
Drake canceled his concert…that refunded money went into my savings. My mother felt like being nice and gave me $50…that went into my savings as well. Random money shouldn’t be the green light to splurge; that in fact is more money for you to save towards your goals.
Bonus tip–because I care a lot
Drop the credit card like it’s hot
The amount of consumer debt that we have in this country is ridiculous. Unless it is absolutely an emergency, don’t use your credit card. If you don’t have the money to purchase it on your own, chances are you don’t need it in the first place.
Every time I look at my savings account, I jump for joy because I’m so proud. There’s nothing like knowing that if some random ish happened tomorrow you could cover it. Better yet, there’s nothing like knowing you’re getting closer and closer to getting that one thing you want so badly.