How I Saved $2,500 4 Months
One of the earliest savings lessons that I learned was at the age of 17 when I quit my first job. Every paycheck, I would make sure to set aside $25 and deposit it into my bank account every week. I had about $350 saved when I quit, and I thought that I had money to blow. Unfortunately, my car needed repairs and a few jobs that I had applied to fell through. After paying for car repairs, gas, and occasional summertime activities, my savings account was like, “what money?” I remember feeling like it took me so long to save that money for it to be gone so quickly. Apparently, I did not understand how money and savings worked.
Fast forward to 2014, I began making it a priority to save effectively. I wanted to feel as if the money that I was saving was enough. Also, should I ever decide to quit any job, I’d be able to continue to live comfortably. Though I made it a priority then, I didn’t have any strategy outside of just putting aside.
Within the past few months, I combined some of my old savings habits with new savings habits and current technology to help me stay on track. I will share my savings method with you all.
Note: Before saving, I paid extra on bills that I already had and eliminated spending money on things that I didn’t need. For example, I canceled my Audiobook subscription (every little bit counts). I reviewed bank statements of all of my recurring charges to see what I was spending my money most.
1. Psych Yourself Out
I know that this is a strange piece of advice, but I promise that there is a method to my madness. To psych yourself out to save money, you must make it a necessity to pay yourself first. Creating savings habits starts with the mind. I understand that the expenses of life will always arise as long as you are living, but be intentional about saving. Set a weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly goal that is not too overwhelming but satisfying enough for you. I started with the goal of $100 per month. Every week that I got paid, I would deposit $25 into that account before I would spend a cent on anything else.
I also opened a savings account at a credit union that was separate from my primary bank. Opening an account separate from your primary account helps to delay that gratification in the beginning stages of saving when you are getting that itch for retail therapy. It makes you reconsider the inconvenience of withdrawing money for something that is not a necessity.
2. Go Shopping
Go shopping in the app store! We are trying to save these coins, I wouldn’t tempt you like that! There is a slew of savings apps that help with money management, budgeting, and will save for you. I took a trip to the Apple store and downloaded the Acorns app (you get $5 if you use my referral link: https://acorns.com/invite/9M4EZP). I love this app because it helps you save without feeling like a maniacal, penny-pinching cheapskate. The app allows you to link your bank account or debit card and keeps the change that you spend on your daily purchases. Also, it will let you choose a recurring amount to deposit, or you can make one time deposits. Another benefit of this app is that they have partnered with big companies to give you “found money.” You get found money when you spend money at a company, and they give you money back.
Download The Daily Budget or Clarity Money apps if you have trouble with finding where to cut spending. These will allow you to see if you need to swap eating out for meal prepping or happy hours for a nice bottle of wine from Trader Joe’s.
3. The Power of Hell to the Naw
When you are trying to save money, you become popular all of a sudden. You are a living human being whose sole purpose in life is to experience it, so do that. However, try to learn the power of saying no to some of those invitations that you get. I used to pay to go to events and could not dare say no to an invite to happy hour. Once I decided to focus on saving my money, I became extremely selective about where my money was going. I chose weekends once a month to go out for dinner, the movie, and mani-pedis. On the weekends that I decided not to spend, I found free things to do and invited the people that asked me to attend their events. One thing that kept me social was scrolling through EventBright and MeetUp.com. Those two websites had free events, and I got the chance to network with people with common interest.
4. Stick It and Leave It
Carefully think of a savings goal and stick to it. Once you’ve met your goal, leave the money alone. If you set a goal of saving $500 a month, plan out how you are going to make it happen. If you have a bill coming up that may interfere with the amount that you want to save, plan for it accordingly to avoid deviating from the plan.
5. Money Hunt
Find ways to make money! If you have old clothes that you’ve gotten tired of, sell them. If you have a side hustle, plan to do it enough to help stack the money. Also, visit www.thepennyhoarder.com, www.myfabfinance.com, and www.thebudgetnista.com. These websites help to encourage you to find ways to save doing everyday activities.
These five steps helped me to save $2,500 in 4 months. Be intentional with your money, and you will see it grow. Everyone’s savings journey is different, but the goal is to save and make progress consistently. Even if you save an extra $75 quarterly, its money that you intentionally set aside. May the force of savings be with you! You got this!