Why you should start saving – Why Wednesdays + How to save 5K in one year!

Saving is HARD. It’d sure be nice if I didn’t have to do it – but I do. Growing up, I never ever saved a dime, and always wanted something. I never saved for college, never saved more than 1,200$ (and this was to move out!) and to be honest, it hasn’t turned out very great. I’m definitely happy, don’t get me wrong… in fact, I don’t have much debt either (luckily I stopped that a few years ago – but at one time was over 7,000$ in debt), but I realized near the end of 2014 that if I really wanted to start living, I needed to buckle down and start saving. SERIOUSLY SAVING.

I felt like such an “adult” having these thoughts. Although I’m no expert, I did some research and by some trial and error I would like to share some pretty darn good savings tips from yours truly!

But first off, think about saving… what’s in it for you to save for the long term?

I would recommend that YOU write down your reasons to save – writing things down can help motivate you and give you that extra “push” you need. Personalizing this experience will also make for better results.


Some of the reasons saving is a great idea for anyone (in my opinion): 

  • Emergency “nest egg” (illness, eviction, etc. aka 3-6 months living expenses)
  • “Hate my job” fund (aka. the Fuck right off fund aka 3-6 months living expenses disguised under a different veil.)
    If you’ve ever had a job you hated – you can relate to this.
    Can you imagine having enough money saved up that if you got tired of your job one day, you could slap down your two weeks notice, and would have enough money to survive while you found another job?
    Though I am not currently in this situation, if I would have had this FROF a long time ago, I could have saved myself a lot of stress, anxiety and hurt feelings.
    Note: If you’re saving for this and have enough to get by, that is super great – but please ensure to be responsible have at least a few other options available – don’t screw yourself over and do to not act impulsively – but instead maturely and responsibly.
  • Travel
  • A big purchase (car, house, etc.) – You may not have the full cost saved up, but a 5-15K down payment vs a 0-2K down payment will make a difference!
  • Post-secondary education
  • Plans to have children/already have children

 

What’s preventing you from saving?
For me, it was a variety of things, including the following:

  • Eating out excessively
  • Buying too much “stuff”
  • Gym membership costs
  • Various forms of Entertainment
  • Buying specialty drinks (lattés, coffees, energy drinks, water bottles, juices, etc.)
piggybank1_zpsfu7rssyf


So how can I save 5,000$ in one year?
Well first off, just check out this set of amazing challenges!!!
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This photo is a link to the website I found it on – via pinterest.
I did the first option – and ended up with 1,378$. I also saved 55$ a week, bi-weekly. I did this because I was already doing this for my student loans, and since I was already used to do this, I found it easy to just keep going and haven’t missed the money. That added up to an extra 1,320$!
That’s a total of 2,698$!

You could also pair it with this “Christmas Savings Plan” – a 26-week savings plan.

26weeksavings_zps6im46z2y

I found this on pinterest.

I did this same plan, but backwards – and started in January. When I paired it with the first option on the previous chart, it made more sense because the earlier in the year you start, the less money you have to part with. That way, when you end this savings plan below, you are only 26$ into the other savings plan – where as if you started this on June 6th as it intends, you’d have to deposit 100$ in one week right around Christmas time (Week 51 of the weekly savings plan is 51$, and the last deposit amount on the 26 week plan is 51$, which is 101$).

At the end of 2015, I will have 3,699$ savings just from following these charts (and saving 55$ a month bi-weekly.)


How to source out/save extra money

It can be challenging to save money, or even to see the parts of your life where you spend a lot of money (most of the time unknowingly). These tips, along with a good look at your bank account transactions, should be able to start you on a good path to savings!

  • Sell items you don’t use anymore. 
    Have a gaming system you just don’t play anymore? An older smart phone? Books? DVDs? Clothes? Accessories?
    Look around your living space and collect the items that you just don’t use anymore. If you haven’t used it in 6 months, it’s time to get rid of it! Source out a buyer (kijiji/craigslist, Facebook buy & sell groups, game and movie stores, Buy/sell book stores, consignment stores, etc.), make some money off the stuff that is just cluttering your life (and probably collecting dust!).
    Possible Savings/Profit: 50-100$ + (I say this because I would like to think almost everyone has at least 50$ worth of “stuff”)
  • Only eat out once a week.
    (20$ total a WEEK, rather than 65$ (8$/day lunch x 5 days, + 25$ a weekend/1 meal out). (a total cost of 260$ a month vs. 80$ month – a total savings of 180$! PER MONTH.) If you save that extra money you would have spent on eating out, you could save an extra 2,160$ a year. Keep in mind though, the less you spend on eating out, the more your grocery bill will be. Even if you added an extra 100$ a month to your grocery bill, that’s still 80$ in savings a month.
    Possible Savings: 960$ a year. 
  • Stop buying fancy coffees/lattés/energy drinks, bring a homemade option or stop buying coffee/energy supplements altogether.
    * The cost of a “fancy coffee drink”, lattés, or even energy drinks are on average 4$ – five days a week is 20$, 80$ a month. That’s 960$ a YEAR!
    * The cost of a black coffee is typically 2.50$-3$ (cream and sugar, though completely unnecessary, are typically free) – five days a week is , That’s 50$ a month. If you “downgrade” from fancy coffees to just regular coffee or americanos (still with sugar or cream if you desire) that is 30$ in savings a month, 360$ a year.
    * Bring coffee made from home – even buying organic coffee for 13.99$ for 340 g, which equals out to an average of 30 cups of coffee, is 0.34$ a cup. Even if you drink two cups a day, that is still only 26$ a month, 312$ a year.
    * Having no coffee, is a savings of anywhere from 50-80$ a month.
    Possible Savings: 300-960$ a year. 
  • Skip 4 months at the gym a year and do at-home work outs instead. 
    The gym can be lots of fun but it can also be expensive! Gym memberships, from my experience, are around 40$ a month. Skip 4 months a year to save 160$ a year. This can easily be done in the summer months, when doing cardio and various other forms of exercise can easily be done outdoors.
    Or – stop going to the gym altogether and start working out from home! There are plenty of at home work outs sure to challenge and get you to your fitness goals! Even if you have to shell out 50$-100$ to have the necessary equipment or to buy an online subscription, etc. it’s totally worth the savings!
    Possible Savings: 160$-480$ a year,380$ if you spend up to 100$ in subscriptions, equipment, etc.

Total Savings: 1,470$ – 2,500$

If you add this to the above total of 3,699$, even on the low end (1,470$), you’ve made it over 5,000$!!! 

If you can make a few sacrifices and de-clutter your life a little bit, you could be 5,000$ richer this time next year!

Some other savings ideas:

  • Visit a movie theater only a movie worth seeing on the big screen comes out (and eat before you go!)
  • Stop ordering VODs (and/or cancel your cable), subscribe to Netflix or other “library” streaming service (or just stop watching it altogether!
  • Get a library card.
  • Make your own DIY beauty products (though it might be a bit pricey if you need to buy everything at once in mass quantities).
  • Use “daily deal” sites (ex. Groupon) to save on entertainment and various other attractions in your area.
  • Get a second casual job that you enjoy – example: Babysitting, Dog walking, selling products as an independent sales rep (ex. do terra, abonne, etc.), help seniors live their best lives (cleaning, driving them to the grocery store, etc.), get a paper route, etc.
  • Work overtime at your current job
  • Invest in your employer (purchase shares in the company) – Often times companies will match your contribution, which basically means free money! My personal experience with this – from bi-weekly contributions by my employer and me, I’ve saved over 5,000$ in 2015. I was contributing at a lower level last year and in 2014, made over 2,000$… which paid off my credit card and paid for my trip to Jamaica!)
  • Find something you love – and profit from it! (Like to knit? make jewelry? draw? make crafts? home decor? start an etsy page, sell to friends, make a facebook page, etc. Even a small profit can help you get to your goal!)
  • Get a banking app that analyzes your spending habits – this will help you find any cracks in your savings foundation. I personally use one built into my online banking account. Sometimes I really don’t like what I see, but sometimes the truth hurts! But – you live and you learn, and you move on! 🙂

Again, I’m no pro – but I thought it wouldn’t hurt to share my personal tips to saving money. It’s been a struggle – and probably always will be… but I am learning! 🙂
Happy Wednesday everyone – I hope you have enjoyed this edition of “Why Wednesdays”. 🙂 
Originally posted November 18/15.
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