I recently logged into my American Express account and I flinched a bit when I saw my balance. I knew I had the money in my checking account to pay it off in full, but I kinda wish I could keep that balance in my savings account instead. Over the last year, my spending has definitely changed in a good way, however I have more room for improvement. This time last year, I was working on paying off a bit of credit card debt accumulated because of two big trips planned back to back and some life changes. For the first time ever I did not have the funds in my checking and savings account to pay off my credit card in full and honestly, it was terrifying. With this realization it caused me to make some big life changes. Now a year later, I have enough in my checking account to pay my bills and even more sitting comfortably in my savings account.
This is how I got comfortable saving money while spending money….
Automatically Transfer Money To Your Savings
This is something that I do every single Friday after I get paid. When I was still paying off my credit card balance, I still made an effort to keep money in my savings while having enough to pay my bills. I sat down and added up how much my monthly bills were as well as a budgeted amount for other monthly spending. The rest of my money went into my savings.
Budget Your Spending
This minimum/maximum in my checking started because after being dumb and not watching where my money was, I kept overdrafting my checking account on automatic payments. I would forget my student loan or car insurance was coming out that day and my money would be in my savings instead of my checking. After learning that mistake the hard way, I created a minimum/maximum of funds to keep in my checking to limit my spending while the rest goes into my savings.There is a minimum and maximum amount I have in my checking – no more and no less. I make it a rule to not transfer money from my savings back into my checking keeping it another way to keep my spending on track.
Don’t Buy Coffee
This is a difficult one for me, but once I cut out buying coffee or food, I immediately saw a difference. I only function with multiple cups of coffee a day, so it was a big life adjustment to stop buying coffee. Instead I brought into work my own Keurig and some K Cups. If you look at my spending a lot of money is spent eating out. I am horrible at packing a lunch every single day for work, so I try to limit grabbing Wawa just once or twice a week. Buying lunch is like wasting $10 a day and it can add up if you do it a lot a week.
Use The “How Many Times Will I Wear It Rule”
Okay, I admit… I like to buy clothes. While I do have a closet packed with a lot of clothes, I am smart shopper. I like to wait for a major sale or more often when the item goes to clearance. One of my favorite stores, Loft, can be a bit pricey, but the styles I fall in love with often go to clearance. Before I buy anything, I have to justify that I will wear it multiple times and that it has more than one function.
Whenever I was bored or needed to get out of the house, I would walk around Target or Homegoods. The browsing turned into buying things I did not need and spending money that I did not have to spend. I now avoid shopping as much as I can and only go shopping when I need a specific thing. I even started ordering a few groceries online and have them shipped to my house to avoid buying things I don’t need.
Make Smart Choices
When you make financial decisions now and stick to them they become financial habits. Set up your bills to be automatically paid in full each month to avoid late fees and interest. By setting aside the budget to pay off your bills for the month, you can focus more on putting money in your savings. Cancel those subscriptions for a few months and enjoy the money in your savings account instead of on a gym membership you rarely used or that magazine you read once. I also like to buy generic everything when I can to save money whenever I can.