Throwback Kanye definitely was on to something. Like many 20 something-year-olds I know, saving money has not been a talent of mine. It also wasn’t something I learned from my parents or school. If my bills are paid and I have food in the fridge, chances are that 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 understood how bad I was with not only spending money but also saving it. After working for two months, not paying rent, and ending up just as broke as when I lived on my own and paid rent from my part-time job, I knew it was time for me to make some changes. There just wasn’t an excuse for this.
I don’t know about you but I want to be a part of the 40% of American’s that can afford a $1000 unexpected expense (especially if it’s an impromptu trip). Here are ten KEY things I did differently every month that has helped me keep and grow the money in my savings account. Cha Ching
1. 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 saved up to 25% when I could. You’d be surprised how much your savings can build doing this alone.
Right now, I freelance solely, but I still save money every time I have an invoice paid.
2. I chose one long term goal to save toward
For me, it’s moving from home into an apartment (possibly outside of NYC) that I can love and adore without roommates and little to no space. The frustrations of living at home alone have given me the motivation to get my financial act all the way TOGETHER. Especially with me being a freelancer, I have to be much better about my savings to reach this goal.
3. I utilized my savings account and ALL of its perks
I’ve had a savings account for maybe 6 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 and I have “keep the change” linked to my accounts which transfers 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. It’s small but it adds up
4. 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. This stops me from taking money out of my savings. So far, so great.
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5. 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. It’s always going to be somebody’s birthday, some event going on, etc. Get comfortable with declining invitations and stay your ass and your cash home.
6. 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 really have to spend on the fun stuff. Don’t knock it, it really does help.
If you have a job with a steady paycheck, making a budget is much easier because you know your exact income. on the other hand, freelancer just needs to be wise and weed out what purchases can wait and figure out realistic income goals you can make each month.
7. 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 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 cut off until the next week starts.
8. I held myself accountable
Have some willpower and stop using your lack of “self-control” as an excuse.
9. If I came across a little extra $$$, I spent some and saved most
Drake canceled his concert…that refund went into my savings. My mother felt like being nice and gave me $50…that went into my savings as well. Tax return? You got it—right in my savings. “Random” money shouldn’t be the green light to splurge; it’s more money for you to save towards your goals.
Bonus tip–because I care a lot
10. 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 (or Afterpay for that matter). If you don’t have the money to purchase it on your own, chances are you don’t need it and can’t afford 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 shit happens tomorrow you could cover it without a worry in the world.