HOW MUCH MONEY DO YOU HAVE SAVED?
**This post may contain affiliate links. For more information, see my disclosures here. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases made through my Amazon links.
Wait…before you answer, if your answer is less than $1000 you aren’t alone. According to a 2017 GOBankingRates survey, more than half of Americans (57%) have less than $1000 in their savings accounts. Having money set aside for a rainy day is important, but at the same time can be challenging due to everyday living expenses. When the unexpected happens it is better to be able to sustain your household by having money to fund the necessary day to day expenses. The unexpected can be anything from your car breaking down, you or your spouse losing a job, a family member getting sick or you having another child unexpectedly.
Don’t live Paycheck to Paycheck
Recent studies have shown that the amount of salaries and raises are not keeping up with the rate of rising costs and inflation is making it harder to save. There are things that I do to personally ensure that we aren’t living paycheck to paycheck regardless of our salary. The main one is…we LIVE WITHIN OUR MEANS. In order to live within your means you need to assess you financial situation in it’s CURRENT state.
START here…How much money do you make? What’s the total of your monthly expenses? What are you financial goals? By answering these 3 questions honestly and as detailed as possible you can create a SPENDING PLAN. A plan that tells your money where to go instead of limiting it by category. With a spending plan you plan to spend your money a certain way in order to reach your financial goals. Therefore, eliminating the paycheck to paycheck living.
Use this form to plan out where you will spend your paycheck in order to see what you will have to put aside to start building your $1000 savings. Make sure you document “paying yourself” (saving) as a line item. So many times we try to save on what’s left but if you make saving a priority and treat it like a monthly expense it will be easier to reach your goal.
Lower your cell phone costs immediately!
It drives me nuts to see people paying $100+ dollars per line for cell phone service with major carriers, or purchasing phones that cost more than my monthly car note. Don’t they know that they can get service for a fraction of that cost (without a contract) or buy a used phone. We switched our cell phones to Republic Wireless and now save over $2200 a year.
The plans start at $15 per month, for unlimited talk/text/data over wi-fi only. CLICK HERE TO VIEW PLANS & PRICES. There’s NO contract and NO expensive phones to buy. Don’t worry about cancellation fees if you decide to not use the service in the future. You don’t have to promise your next born to afford a new phone either. If you can’t bring over your current phone, Republic has affordable phones that you can purchase for as low as $12 per month. You can also grab a used phone from Amazon. I suggest you always purchase your cell phones used it saves so much money.
Republic Wireless’ website has a list of supported phones. You may be able to use your current cell phone without purchasing a new one when you switch services (check the website for more details.)
**TIP: I never purchase the most recent phones I wait a couple of years after they are released. When it is time to upgrade I find the new one that I want USED online. Then I put my current phone on eBay for sale. If my phone does not sale in time to purchase the phone I want I find another phone USED online. When my phone sales, I then purchase the new/used upgraded phone using the proceeds from my current phone that I sold. Using this technique I have not spent over $100 on a phone in the last 5 years for my upgraded cell phones.
Save without thinking about it (out of sight out of mind.)
I don’t care what I do, if my husband sees money some how he will come up with a way or reason to spend it. So I opened a separate bank account for each of us with Chime and direct deposit 10% of our checks directly into the savings. My husband went 3 months without asking about his Chime savings. He totally forgot about it. He doesn’t have to see it or do anything to save so he forgets about it. Plus he doesn’t even miss the money coming out of his check.
I also enrolled us in Automatic Savings. When he spends, Chime automatically rounds up transactions to the nearest dollar and transfers the ROUND UP from the Spending Account into our Savings Account. For example, A gas purchase of $15.35 gets rounded up to $16.00, and the extra $0.65 cents is automatically moved to the savings. Using our card helps to build our savings this way.
There’s NO monthly minimums or fees, NO overdraft fees and over 30,000 no fee ATM locations. Plus a mobile app with real-time alerts so you know at all times how much you have saved and available to spend. I downloaded the app but my husband didn’t since he’s the spender I’m in charge of watching the Chime account. Since signing up 3 months ago together we have saved $39 alone just on the round up, plus the 10% we auto deposit from paychecks.
Collect loose change.
I have a “piggy” bank that I use to collect all the loose change around our home. Really it’s a red and black stiletto shaped high heel that sits on my nightstand next to the bed. I use it to drop all my loose change in it when my wallet gets to full. Whenever I clean the kids rooms, or do the laundry I am always finding change. My husband is the worst, whenever I wash his pants I always find change in his pockets that end up in MY piggy bank for later. When the bank gets full I dump it out, roll up the coins and deposit them into my savings account.
To carry that concept into the 21st century I also have a virtual, investing piggy bank. It’s called Acorns. This app is similar to the Chime app I talked about above, only in the fact that it saves your loose change. Acorns unlike Chime invests that change in low risk stocks and bonds. It also lets you set up reoccurring deposits for investments to grow my savings faster like I did.
They also have referral bonuses and you can earn cash back with the rewards program by shopping through the app. Acorns does charge a $1 a month fee, but trust me it is well worth it (and the savings will more than pay for the monthly fee!) Sign up through the link below and get $5 to invest for free THAT’S LIKE GETTING THE MONTHLY FEE WAIVED FOR 5 MONTHS 🙂
Make some side money $$$
One of the easiest ways I make money today is with my phone, and it’s totally FREE! Yep, that’s right. Easy as 1-2-3. I have a Swagbucks account. Anytime I find myself waiting in a drive through, or in the grocery line (and even sometimes if I’m bored on my lunch break.) I log into my Swagbucks account and with the click of a few buttons add to my SB’s.
I also have the Swagbucks Button installed on my laptop. Anytime I go to a website to make a purchase that’s supported by SB’s I earn SB’s for my purchase. I also go directly to the Swagbucks website and search for retailers to make purchases through in order to earn SB’s. Swagbucks is more than a survey website you can earn SB’s several ways.
Earn SB’s by:
- Print your grocery coupons through SB’s to earn 1 SB per coupon printed (25 max per day) and up to 25 SB’s when coupons are redeemed.
- Take a daily poll.
- Complete in-store offers.
- Shop online through the special offers.
- Watch Videos.
- Complete your daily offer.
- Play games.
- Take surveys.
- Refer Friends earn $3 per referral (and earn 10% of their SB’s amount as long as the referral account is active.)
- Earn bonuses for hitting your daily goal.
See I told you. I’ve earned Visa gift cards (that can be used anywhere Visa debit/credit cards are accepted.) I get Amazon gift cards for Christmas to purchase gifts as well as use the site for discounts on purchases. Don’t wait another minute, sign up for a FREE Swagbucks account.
I know it doesn’t sound exciting but it will save you so much money. We don’t realize the amount of money we waste on groceries when we don’t plan out what we intend to buy. This leads to impulse purchases that add to your bottom line. Meal planning also eliminates the stress on having to figure out on a day to day basis what you’re going to cook.
I use the Ibotta app along with my meal planning to get cash back to use for my next grocery shopping trip. This app gives you cash back on items that you purchase at certain grocery stores and other retailers. I look through the app and find the items I need on my shopping list for my meals. I grab my phone, my printable coupons and go shopping. After making my purchases from the app I take a picture of the receipt and get my cashback placed in my Ibotta account.
- Don’t forget to use your regular coupons with the app to stack your savings (pair this option with the coupons printed from Swagbucks.)
- Pay for your purchases with a cash back credit/debit card to receive double cash back. Use the Dosh app to turn any debit or credit card into a cashback card.
Our grocery bill was one of the top 3 expenses in our household month to month until I started meal planning.
In conclusion, I have listed a crap load of ways to help you get to that $1000 in 6 months. Our phone bill savings was $1100 alone for 6 months by just switching phone companies. Use several of these options together to stack the savings to save faster.
You have to start now breaking the cycle of living paycheck to paycheck! Print out the above forms and GET STARTED organizing your finances. Check back regularly and update us on you journey to saving, budgeting and financial freedom. Happy Saving!!!