Ya favorite fourth-grade teacher has a pretty fantastic news flash about money:
I don’t get paid enough money to do what I do.
Heck, none of us do. I’m sure you’ve got a to-do list a mile and a half long waiting for you somewhere. It’s hard enough budgeting our petty checks to begin with, let alone attempting to do so while being a newer adult. I think the stalest my face is every month is the moment after I finish paying my bills. It’s a real cute buzzkill.
So I’ve decided that we’re going to do this together. We’re going to save money, watch our spending, and be uber successful at it (no matter how many bottles of wine and pizzas you’ve ordered).
1. PAY YOUR BILLS AS SOON AS YOU GET PAID.
Friends, please stop pretending that even though you get paid once a month on the first, that you can simply wait to pay your AT&T bill on the fifteenth. Guaranteed the fifteenth will sneak up on you more often than not, and you’ll find yourself scraping together foolishness to pay it. If possible, have all of your bills due around the same time you get paid so you know what you’re working with for the rest of the time period. If it’s not possible, that’s cool too, just be diligent about paying all of them off ASAP. Sounds simple, but it makes a difference.
2. BUDGET, BUDGET, BUDGET.
Your weekly haircut, boys? Factor that in. Nails, ladies? That’s an expense. Anything reoccurring like groceries, gas, tithes, etc. are an expense. Pretend it’s a bill, because you’re not going to walk around like a mammoth for two weeks-month. Look over your last month’s statement and see what expenses are reoccurring. Also, check out how much you eat out – Chick-Fil-A four times a week adds up. Mint is a really good app to help with this. Budget out your money by being real about your expenses.
3. RAINY DAY FUNDS.
Building up your savings account has to be intentional. Decide personally what amount you can handle to put away and transfer it immediately. Some banks have Automatic Bill Pay where you can set up a “bill pay” and pay your own savings account, or some professions allow you to take a percentage/amount to send straight to your savings. Easy peasy.
4. PLAN YOUR SERENDIPITIES
You know me, I’m all about pleasant surprises. What’s not cool is the unpleasant surprise of $S9.48 in your account after your serendipity. Been there, done that. If you know you like to travel, or you are planning on going somewhere save this money outside of your checking account, that way it’s not mixed in with your other money. Simple is a fantastic way to budget for big trips or even just small groceries. It helps you create savings goals that are doable for you while keeping track of your spending without the fees. I’ll be using this when Reko and I plan for Disney.
5. LEAVE SOME PLAY MONEY
Life isn’t all bills. Don’t stress yourself out. Do the things you want and be smart about it. There are a ton of ways to save money via sales and couponing so that you have more space to do what you enjoy. Just look out for them. (Slight plug: The Real Savvy Saver is fantastic for deals, coupons, and freebies. I’m a part of the Facebook group and they always have the best updates for freebies and my favorite – Super Doubles.)
We can do this! Pay your bills first, track and budget your expenses, and leave space for some serendipities.
Peace & Love,