Congratulations! You are an adult! You make your own money now, and are free to spend it however you please. If you are around my age, and still in the midst of your first working years, you might find yourself fascinated with all the things you can afford now, that used to be absolute luxuries before. For me one of these now affordable luxuries are manicures (although I am still in slight awe that I can now pay someone to make my nails look all pretty, so I do it maybe 4 times a year).
As exciting as permanent manicures might be, you may not feel like you are able to talk about money as freely as you would like to: to ask your coworker how much they are making, your friends how much they are trying to save monthly, or even how much they spent on their last holiday. Money sometimes feels like a bit of a taboo subject, and one that one has to be very sensitive and respectful with. However, I strongly believe this is a conversation that can only help us in the long run, to be more responsible with our money, negotiate better in our next job, set long term goals… etc. This is why I thought today I would share with you what I am doing to save some money, and not blow my salary on eating out and ice cream every month.
Focus on saving FIRST
Introducing the Daily Budget app who have not paid me to talk about them in any shape or form, I am actually that lame that this is one of my favorite apps. The way the app works is that you add your monthly/yearly expenses: rent, internet, subscriptions, gym membership… you add your income and lastly but most importantly you add the amount of money you wish to save that month. Based on these three factors, the app comes up with the amount of money you can spend per day in order to reach your saving goal. If you don’t spend your daily budget today, it will be added to tomorrow’s amount. If you go over your budget, the app will turn red and scary looking, and you will feel like a failure who needs to STOP EATING OUT. It works absolute wonders for me, and I won’t shut up about it to my friends and relatives.
Even if apps are not your thing, the main idea is that your savings should be “taken out” of your account first thing in the month. You can set up an automatic transfer as soon as you get your salary, and pretend like this money doesn’t exist. The adjustment at first might be tough, but soon you will get used to it.
Cash cash cash
Yeah, yeah, I know. We are in 2019, everyone loves their credit cards, and Apple Pay, and a bunch of other modern technology I am not familiar with. But the thing about this technology, is that it makes it pain-free to spend your money. You don’t see your wallet slowly emptying, so it’s easier to give it away. At least for the beginning, while you are making a habit out of saving, I think keeping the money in your wallet and actually seeing it when you give it away, is super helpful. I have stopped myself from buying something I didn’t need so much because I didn’t want to break a 50. Had I paid with card, I would have bought it, and regretted it later.
(Also, don’t even get me started on installment payments. If you don’t have the cash to buy it, and you are trying to save, just don’t buy it.)
Plan your expenses away
Anything you can plan ahead of time, will obviously reduce the amount of impulse buys you purchase. Make a grocery list, take out your summer clothes and figure out exactly what pieces are missing in your closet, make lists on lists on lists that will help you identify your needs and tell them apart from the things you just “want”.
Check in with yourself
The sentences “I haven’t checked my account in ages. I’m afraid of what I am gonna find!” trigger my anxiety like no other. Knowledge is power. Check your bank account, your daily budget app (if I convinced you on my first point) and your savings account regularly. Make sure you understand where you are at so you can react accordingly. No one wants to be in the situation where your card gets declined on the night you are meeting your boyfriends parents, do you?
Hold on to “unexpected” money
Unexpected money, like a tax return, a present from your grandma, or a bonus at work, is the money that we are most likely to spend impulsively. We often feel like because we didn’t anticipate receiving it, it won’t affect our goals if we just mindlessly spend it all on a designer bag. I get it, and I do understand that it is nice to treat yourself from time to time. But maybe you can treat yourself to a massage instead of a Gucci bag, and treat your savings account to the rest of the money. You can start with a 50/50 split, and eventually maybe build up to a 20/80 (80 being the amount you save).
Now the typical disclaimer: I am by no means a money expert, nor am I in a position to tell you what to do. These are just the things that work for me, because saving to eventually buy a house (eventually being the key word in that sentence) is something I find important. I would love to hear what helps you save money, or what your financial goals are right now.