We are all aware the money makes the world go round. And if you are anything like how I used to be, budgeting and saving is not one of your strong suits. There are so many things to buy, foods to try, trips to take, and bills to pay; so how can we make this all possible and still have some money left in our pockets? This, like anything else, begins with the right mindset. You have to discipline yourself and remind yourself daily that you will be thankful in the future. I can relate to you 100% in the situation you are in right now, and I’m excited to help you start saving , so lets get going!
Pretend You Earn Less Than You Do
So, because the money is yours, and you love knowing how much of it you have at all times, you are aware of exactly how much your paycheck will be each pay period. More so if you are a person who lives paycheck-to-paycheck like all the college students and early 20 year olds. But, what if you could convince yourself to take 20% of the total amount each month and subtract that from your paycheck, and then the remaining balance is actually the amount you make each period. By pretending you earn less than you do, you will have this extra money set aside in savings, which over time will add up and quite quickly. You will also learn to adapt to the lifestyle choices that are best suited for you. For example, you make less money, so therefore the $250 pair of shoes you want become noticed more as a want than an actual need. By doing this, you will soon figure out that all of the material things that you were spending your money on before don’t have the same importance now. I’m not saying not to buy the things you want, I’m just suggesting doing so with more of a want or need mindset. You will be able to see within the first couple of months, how much you are saving, and exactly how quickly it will add up.
Do you have specific things that you are trying to save money for? Trips, school loans, shopping? Envelopes are PERFECT for these situations. Whenever an opportunity comes up, for example a trip, I take an envelope and write what it is for on the front. Then anytime I get money, I take a small portion of it and put it in that envelope. I convince myself that the money in the envelope is “gone” and I make sure to place the envelope in a location that I know where it is, but it is out of my sight. By doing this, you don’t have “easy access” to accidentally spending it. Because it is cash and it is right in front of you, you are able to keep track of them amount from time to time.
Keep the Change
Ever since I was a child, my dad and I had a bucket in the house that we would always empty our change into when we entered the house. After sometime, we would see the bucket was beginning to over flow and we would sit down together and roll the change in rollers, and then take it to the bank to cash it in. I remember being amazed every single time, because to me, a penny here a nickel there never seemed like it could amount too much more, but it did. Ever since then, I’ve always managed to keep a jar in my room and when my wallet seems to get overflowing with change, I empty it into there. I do the same process and I am still amazed every single time at the outcome. Change is currency, yes but it’s the currency that we use less of and easily forget about. Since this money doesn’t fully calculate in your mind as a part of “the money you have”, once rolling and changing it out for cash allow yourself to take a portion, whatever you feel is right or whatever you can afford, and give that to a charity, or homeless shelter, or someone in need. You know the money struggle, but while helping yourself, why not help someone else too?
Debt is a four-letter word that looms over many people for several years. Whether it’s student loans, Mortgage payment, or cars, loans seem to be never ending. By making your debt a top priority, and eliminating it as soon as possible, you are not only allowing yourself the change for a better financial future overall, but you’re also gaining back your sense of freedom. Sit down with your bills, and divide them into categories based on what their for ex: cars, school loans, mortgage, etc. and then each month, take 5-10% of your leftover paycheck and pay these down little by little. Tackle each category individually before moving on to the next. Even if it is only a small amount that you are able to pay each month, it’s still getting you one step closer to saying goodbye to the looming grey cloud.
Keep Your Future In Mind
You never know when opportunities are going to unveil, or when an emergency may happen. Maybe you decide you need a weekend get away to clear your head and to bring you back down to Earth. When saving, ALWAYS keep your future in mind. Like I mentioned earlier, you can designate money to a certain vacation, electronic, or clothing item, but this is much more than that. This is the money to help you in the years to come, how do you want to be living in 10-15 years? How much money you’ve been able to save will help determine that. Open a bank account that you only have access to by going to the bank in person. With this account, deposit the largest amount of money possible without leaving you broke, and let it sit. While you keep adding every month, and the interest rate on the money continues to rise, you will see in the future that having this money saved will make you feel safe and more at ease.
Money is what makes this world go round, but you shouldn’t let it affect you or your life in negative ways. So you can’t go to drinks with your friends every night because your saving your money for other things, the two nights that you do go out will be more special and the feeling of boarding the plane to your next adventure will be irreplaceable. Enjoy the process, and let it become a natural and non-stressful way of life. I promise, in the future, you will thank yourself.