Saving money sounds good in theory until it’s your turn to do it and you have no clue where to start. Welcome to adulthood.
Saving money didn’t really become a thing to me until I met my boyfriend. Don’t judge me. I wasn’t really good at saving money before then and I’d like to blame it on the fact that I didn’t really have much to save because I didn’t have a consistent job. I was never “making enough” money save. Let me just tell you: this was the most wrongest state of mind that you could ever be in. Ever. No matter how much or how little money you are making, you should be saving! It can get very frustrating at times but learning to save your money is a habit that you should cultivate as soon as possible You’ll thank yourself for it later.
Now, let’s put the past behind us and focus on how we can make this situation better moving forward. Get your note up!
Evaluate your spending. You have to be aware of where you are spending, when, on what, on who, how and how not. Knowing exactly where you money is going is a good way to manage how much you’re spending. You might find that you are spending way too much money on something when you thought you were only spending about $20. While you’re at it, make a list of all of your spending necessities (gas, transportation, rent, etc.) and when they’re due. This can help you know when it is okay to spend a little more and when you need to spend a little less. This will also help you budget better, which goes into my next step.
Create a budget. Once you are aware of where you’re spending money, create a budget that will help cut back where you’re spending too much. Like I mentioned earlier, I would spend a lot of money eating out. A few $8 meals every now and again doesn’t feel like a lot until you realize that you did it 4 times in one week and you’ve spent $32. Give yourself an allowance on how much money you’ll spend on what. This really helps me be strict with myself and my spending.
Bank wisely. Choosing a bank is pretty important when it comes to matters of ATM fees, accessibility to your money, interest rates and all that extra stuff. My first bank account was convenient for me when I was in college because I was exempt from a lot of the stipulations that came with a traditional account. Once my student account expired, I was getting hit with service fees, overdraft fees, and ATM fees. It was very stressful, considering I wasn’t even making as much money as they kept taking from me. I eventually closed that account and found another bank that worked better for me.
There’s an app for that. There’s an app for almost everything, finances included. There are so many apps out there that you can download right on your phone so you have easy access to your money and budgets. There are even apps that can help you transfer money to a saving accounts based on your spending habits; it does all the work for you. There’s no excuse not to know what your money looks like if you have a smartphone or personal computer. Download the app that corresponds with your bank and don’t be shy to check it frequently. I suggest at least once a day.
Pay yourself first. I grew up hearing this so many times but never really put it into practice. Once I started working consistently, I made sure to set up automatic transfers on payday (or the day after just to be safe). In my mind, all the money in my checking account is spending money (be that bills, groceries, wants, etc.) so I move all the money I don’t want to spend to my savings account, I won’t touch it. It was hard at first to build the discipline to not transfer money back into my checking account, but now I don’t even think about it and I watch the money pile. Very satisfying.
Keep track of your money. Last on this list is a little trick Boo taught me. While this is a bit tedious and time consuming, it is really helpful. I must admit, though, it’s tough for me to even keep up with it. It’s saving receipts and manually checking your bank account. At the end of each day, Boo will sit down with his notebook and calculator (like a grandpa) and manually subtract his day’s spending from his start amount. I must admit, I used to be very on top of this and it was super helpful in helping me visualize each transaction, be that cash or card. This can help you keep track of your account when transactions are still pending and you think you have more than you actually do. Also, banks make mistakes sometime and they’ll get away with it if you aren’t aware. This is also good way to make sure no one is siphoning money in or out of your bank account little-by-little… without your permission, of course.
The key takeaway here is to know where your money is at all times. Have a plan and try to stick to it. There are so many challenges, apps, tactics, and tips on how to save money but you have to find the one that works for you. Once you get in the habit of it, you’re golden.
Leave some of your tips on how to save money below. Does anyone still stash money in piggy banks or under their mattress?