I have mentioned before how important planning is for me when it comes to my finances because of the type of job I am in. This especially becomes important in the winter time when business slows down and spending increases (gifts, travel, etc.). I have had a few people reach out to me asking how I make it through the winter, so I thought I would just share this with you here.
1) Know How Much You Are Making
Salaried Workers Need Not Apply (for this one)
I know that many people have a guaranteed amount of money they are making on biweekly checks whether they are making a salary or are working regular hours with hourly pay. This section might not apply to you lucky folks, since you know how much you make! However, if you are paid biweekly rather than twice monthly, it is nice to figure out which months you could take in 3 paychecks. If that happens to be November like many people, that’s a great opportunity to set aside some extra cash before the holidays!
Tip Based Workers
Since I can remember, I have always kept a note in my phone of how much money I made in tips and how many hours I work. At the beginning of this year, I found this app called Tip Tracker that made this so much easier. It allows you to enter in your hourly wage, hours worked, and tips earned each day. It even creates a graph of your hourly wages earned, tips earned, and combination of the two. Also, it shows you your average dollar per hour wage you make on specific days of the week. I am seriously in love!
By tracking what I make, I know which days I make the most money and my monthly income. And, I don’t have to crunch the numbers myself–remember, I am a numbers person! Knowing which days of the week I make the most money per hour helps me decide when I want to plan my vacations and which days I want to work overall. For example, I make all of my short vacations Monday through Wednesday so that I am not missing my highest money-making days. It pays to know how much you make and when you are making it!
2) Know When Your Bills Are Due
Add a Reminder For Each Bill in Your Phone
I get a reminder every morning of the bills that are due each specific day and how much each bill is. The alarm is definitely not the one I wake up to, because how disappointing would that be! I set it for 8 am so I see where money needs to go for that day, but I honestly just glance at it without giving it too much thought. That is why I love my desk calendar that I walk past multiple times a day.
Buy a Desk Calendar
Seriously, another great investment. I got mine for less than $20 and it has helped me stay financially organized. As I mentioned, I have each bill in my calendar on my phone, but it helps to see it all written down. When I walk past this daily, I get to see what I have due tomorrow and the rest of the week and month.
I, also, add how much I need for my total bills due the following week to every Saturday. I love this because I can just make sure I have that money in my account, and I don’t have to think twice about auto-pay bills for the week.
Never Miss a Due Date
By doing both of these, you shouldn’t ever miss a due date unless you are strapped for cash. This helps you avoid paying late fees, which is basically paying money for being forgetful or unorganized. Wasting less money means you’ll have more to save and make your money work for you!
3) Look at Your Monthly Spending
Some things have to go! Think about those $20 lunches, $10 trips to the gas station, and $5 Starbucks coffees. If you do at least one of these per day, every day, for the whole month, that is between $150 to $1050. Even to take $150 and put it savings is a huge start. This is why you need to know where your money is going. Saying, “Oh, it’s only $10,” thirty days a month can really add up!
It’s not about never indulging, but just acknowledging the money you are spending and deliberately choosing that the money you are spending is worth it.
What Subscriptions Are You Paying For?
I have this app called Clarity Money that is so helpful because it shows you your monthly subscriptions and gives you the option to cancel them through the app. I realized, when I first got the app, that I was paying Apple $10.00 more that 6 times a month. AND, I had no idea what for!
Although I couldn’t cancel Apple (LOL), I began researching what all I was paying them for monthly and weekly. It was for apps I never used as well as my very useful Apple Music, which I didn’t mind. I am happy to say I was able to get rid of these apps and am putting that money to a better use!
Also, if you are one of those who has every single streaming service, I suggest you choose one or two and get rid of the rest. OR, if you have a friend with Netflix and you have Hulu, you guys could share and not have to pay for both.
Is There a Better Deal?
Try buying generic at the grocery store when you can. Buy in bulk to save per item. Use a coupon, or buy the item that is on sale. This way, you’ll be able to make your dollars stretch further.
Also, you can review your cable and internet plans, phone bill, and car insurance to see if you are getting the best deal. Sometimes you can even have companies offering the better deal pay to get you out of your contracts. My sister and I did this with our $400+ Verizon phone bill a couple of years ago and are saving $80 a month each. Also, when my cable bill went up, I called and they said it was because the promo that I had originally purchased was only for X amount of months, but I could sign a new contract and get another discounted rate. That saved me about $60 a month. Just by looking for the better deal, I saved myself $140 a month on things I already had.
Finally, look for the Groupon! You can get almost anything on Groupon now. From facials to vacations, they have everything. I know you don’t want to cut out every one of your favorite pastimes, so consider booking your next tee time through Groupon!
4) The Money
Now that you are spending less, let’s get down to putting money away:
So, “fast” is pretty ambiguous. Let’s say that you want to save $5000 in 3 months. That means you need to save approximately $1667 per month, about $417 per week, or about $56 per day. That seems like a lot, right? But it is going to be so worth it!
Above we talked about possibly cutting out up to $1050 of spending each month. That is 62% of your monthly savings goal. On the low end, we said $150 which is nearly 9% of your monthly savings goal. Just by reallocating your funds, you could put yourself anywhere from 9% to 62% ahead!
I, also, told you above that I saved myself $45 on Apple subscriptions alone. That is 3% of the monthly savings goal. And it was money that I was spending for things I wasn’t using!
Finally, I told you about how I saved $140 each month by switching my services over to the better promotion or better company. This is over 8% of the monthly savings goal. In my scenario, say all of these funds were put into savings, I would be at 20% to 73% of my savings goal without putting away any extra money.
The Other 27% to 80%
Now, where do we come up with the rest? This is the fun part! How in the world are you going to be able to save the remaining $432 to $1332? Don’t worry, I will break it down for you.
You may need to live more frugally for a few months, or work more hours possibly at another job. I actually love when I work more because I have less time available to do things that cost money. For example, you won’t spend money on nights out if you don’t have the availability to participate in them. I, actually, picked up a second job that just needed seasonal help for the end of summer this year and got a huge leap ahead on my savings in doing so.
Another option is to be savvy. Aside from taking on a regular part-time job, you can look for other opportunities to make money. Sign up for Uber or Lyft, walk dogs, babysit, clean, sign on with a temp agency, become a virtual assistant. There are countless side hustles that can monetize your free time; however, I know working more isn’t always the answer for everyone. This is where diligent budgeting and savings come in.
Putting the Money Away
Every Saturday, transfer $417 into your savings. No excuses. Treat it like a bill. Once you make this a habit, you will just be used to putting that money aside weekly. Also, you can set up a recurring transfer into your savings if you want to do so automatically. If you get biweekly paychecks, you can transfer $834 each check instead. The idea is to get used to putting money into a savings account regularly.
I leave work every day with cash and work near my bank, so I try to make daily deposits. When I deposit cash, I always deposit 25% into my savings and 75% into my checking. Then, when I get a paycheck, I put 100% into my savings. This way I am used to making a residual deposit into my savings and when I look at my account, I can add more money into my savings as needed to keep up with the $417 weekly. Every Saturday, I balance the total.
Here is what your savings account should look like after each week:
And, look! You have an extra $4 to spare!
If you do it little by little, it really adds up. SO, keep these tips in mind when you are saving for your next vacation, car, wedding, or just rainy day money! Saving doesn’t have to be difficult because there is money in places that you might not think of!
I am grateful every day that I have an opportunity to earn more!
What I am Grateful For Today
I was actually so inspired to put this post together today for a few of my dear friends. I am so grateful for this idea and so much more today!
What are you grateful for today? Let me know in the comments!