Savings! Such a scary thing for me once. Learning to do it was even harder. But, with determination, some new strategies in place. I was able to do just that, save. Before college ended, I took a job with the local hospital. While working there, I set a goal to save as much as I possibly can (failed, more on that later).
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Because my first attempt failed. Second, go around I got serious, and mapped out a plan, with an actual number goal ($25,000), and steps to get me there:
- Paid myself first
- Made extra money
- Made savings a priority
- Trimmed Down on Monthly Bills
- Opened up Multiple Bank Accounts
- Ate from home
- Brought lunch to work
- Stopped trying to keep up with the Jones
- Stayed focus on my goals by re-reading them daily
I was ready and determined. Below are the steps in details in how I was able to save $25,000 in less than two-years on an entry level salary. It wasn’t easy. And wanted to quit a thousand times. But, it was worth it.
1. Changed My Priorities Around (by paying myself first)
When I made the decision to save $25,000, I had to change a lot of my priorities around. A lot. I had to get serious about my financial future and really put effort into it. With that being said, my “wants” (designer clothing, vacations, outings, etc) was going to have to wait. I decided to pay myself first before anyone else. I did it by making extra income through side hustling.
2. I Made Extra Money with Side Hustles
I love making extra money on the side. There are so much different ways to do it. I make $50-$150 dollars a month on surveys. I sold items on Craiglist. I started this blog. I picked up extra shifts at work.
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3. I Made Savings a Priority
This area came with a few resistances at first. Unfortunately, saving for the future was not as natural for me back then as it is today. But, automating my savings right out of my paycheck into a separate savings account was just the trick I needed.
This was the best decision I could’ve ever made. It allowed me to save without thinking of it, and to learn to live off of less.
Paying myself first became less tricky and work like when it was automated. This allowed me to guarantee that a portion of my income was being saved without missing a beat.
4. I Trimmed Down on my Monthly Bills
I started with writing all of my expenditures down. There’s nothing like ink on a paper that makes things real for me. Started with my living expenses, commute, bills, and misc items.
You can use that old fashion way, or try out Personal Capital a free personal finance budgeting app. I’ve used them for years. Highly recommend.
After using both methods (writing all my expenditures and using personal capital app). I realized there were plenty of areas where I was throwing my money away. 3 of the major areas were my:
- TV/ Internet Provider
- Cell Phone Provider
- Monthly Gym Membership
Internet provider: as a full-time employee, I noticed that I was hardly home, and I was not actively using my laptop or watching TV when home. Most of the web-surfing was done on my iPhone when I was home. Or at my alma mater campus. So, that was an easy $95/month to put back into my savings.
Cell Phone Provider: I’m guilty of wanting the latest phone gadget, yearly. But, I had to reevaluate my goals and outcomes. So, I did not upgrade to the latest phone but instead, I downgraded my services and was able to save an extra $50/month on my cell phone bill.
Monthly Gym Membership: I’m also guilty of paying for monthly gym memberships and never attending the gym, for months on end. I know. Throwing money away. I found a free way to stay in shape, the location of my Employers building has a walking trail, that I started to utilize on my lunch breaks a few times a week. I was able to remove the gym membership off and saving myself $30/month.
5. Opened Up Multiple Bank Accounts
One of the ways I was able to automate my savings and forgot about it is opening multiple bank accounts.
All the accounts that I opened up had their own purpose. From: emergency savings, paying down debt, and traveling. I no longer was using my checking for everything.
Instead, every expense had a budget allocated beforehand.
6. Ate From Home
After work, drinks usually leading into dinner was one major setback my savings took. I enjoy eating and especially enjoy eating out. Trying new foods is a one of my favorite past time of mine. Restaurant week is very popular where I live, and my friends and I are huge fans.
But, as much as I enjoyed the convenience of not cooking from home, it was very costly. My eating out budget was in the hundreds of dollars a month. I started using Mint budget app, and I noticed, I spent an average $400 on restaurants!
Wow! That was an eye opener, if I was going to make my savings goal, I need to cut it out. Literally.
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7. Brought Lunch to Work
Besides eating dinner out often, I also had lunch out. This habit was costing me an average of 5-10/day on top of what it was costing me daily to eat dinners/drinks out.
After making the decision to eat home cook meals, I started packing my lunch to work also. I noticed a considerable difference to my savings in a short amount of time. But, every two weeks I will treat myself to lunch.
I’m not an avid coffee or tea drinker. But, if you are I suggest you buy your favorite items from your local grocery store or online and bring it to work to make. The small savings of 2-5 a day will add up at the end of the month. You’ll save enough to possibly splurge on a pastry and your favorite drink once in awhile.
8. I Stopped Trying to Keep Up with The Jones
We’ve all been there… Sigh. Wanting what we can not afford at this moment. When I made the decision to save, this was a harder for me than I expected.
I did not realize how much influence the outside world had on my personal finances and spending choices. I had to overcome that desire by taking my last final step below.
9. Stayed Focus on my goals by re-reading them daily
I’ve always been good at writing down my goals. Accomplishing them is the tough part. While on this journey, I made sure to re-read my goal for saving $25,000 every day! I posted it on my bathroom, and bedroom mirrors, and any and everywhere that I looked at often. It was always in my line of site. I never forgot it. It was my screensaver on my iPhone, screensaver on my MacPro, written in my favorite personal calendar. Literally EVERYWHERE. I honestly think this helped me more than anything.
After accomplishing this I’ve realized changing your mindset is by far the most difficult thing to do. Getting yourself to believe that YOU can accomplish any goal is one of the toughest parts on this journey.
Glad to say, I was able to overcome.
What are some of the savings goals you have accomplished? Or are you just getting started? Comment below, and let’s discuss.
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