Feel like the world is out to get your savings? Every time you build up some cash, something comes along to take it away! Here’s how to escape the ugly cycle.
Remember when you got your first job? And your dad (or somebody) told you, “Don’t forget to pay yourself first!”
Maybe you listened. (Maybe you didn’t.)
Either way, you know that hoarding money in a savings account is a good idea.
It’s just that no one ever talks about the immediate destruction of that savings account.
It’s like clockwork. Once your account hits a certain number, you start to feel comfortable (or at least happy).
And just then, something comes along to eat it all in one bite.
You can give your theories about why it works this way. But what we really need is ideas for staying motivated when everything in the world is trying to destroy your savings mojo!
When Emergencies Suck Your Savings Account Dry
By the way, make sure you have your savings somewhere separate from your regular money.
This one isn’t easy to change, really, but it is the thing you have the most control over.
Ask any successful person and they will tell you that persistence is the key to it all.
You could also call this good old fashioned stubbornness. Are you really going to let life knock you down?
Be sure to read this letter To The Person Who Feels Like Giving Up.
Remember this: The force that’s conspiring to make you feel defeated loves it when people throw up their hands and quit. Do you want your life to be ruled by a force like that?
Don’t be distracted by your shiny pile of money once you have it built up. Remember that this pile is just a tool to help you get through life on your own terms.
When you use that money, it’s actually doing the job it’s meant to do! It’s there to cover your fanny in an emergency.
So when you use it, be proud that you paid for that problem yourself. And get back to work saving up for the next emergency.
The thing that makes this whole situation a bigger kick in the pants is that you won! You met the goal you set for yourself.
We expect that feeling of accomplishment to be our reward for work well done.
When that feeling is short lived (thanks to a broken down car… or whatever the trouble is), it deflates our entire happiness bubble.
So…while I’m a huge fan of goals, maybe we should abandon the theory of the ideal $1,000 mini emergency fund (or even having 3-6 months worth of savings).
As much as I love checking off a box on the old to do list…your emergency fund is allergic to those check marks.
In fact, when you’re paying off debt, you may have to refill that savings account to the $1,000 line several times per year.
No one wants to take money away from their debt payment plan to refill an emergency fund. (Remember that whenever you think you need to touch that money.)
Make sure your emergency is really an emergency!
But if it is truly an emergency, don’t feel defeated. You used the tool like you should, and now it’s time to refill it.
A Better Plan
Ideally, if your debt is under control, you should be paying yourself first from every paycheck. But for many people who live paycheck to paycheck, this feels like a pipe dream.
So where can you find the money to funnel into savings every month?
The only way to experience a big change in your life is to make a big change in your life.
Big Change Ideas…
- move to a cheaper home
- become a one car family
- learn something new so you can get a better job
- take on a side job (Try one of these full time work from home jobs.)
- drastically cut your budget (#yearofno style)
- ask for a raise or promotion (jump through whatever hoops are necessary)
- quit an expensive habit
- embrace more frugal living tips
Choose any one (or more!) of these big changes and use the wiggle room in your budget to change your life.
More Ideas For Saving
How often do you have an emergency? If you’re drawing from your savings account every month, then you aren’t using it correctly.
Look over your budget again. Maybe this bi-weekly budget template will help!
Ideally, you aren’t touching this money more than a couple of times per year. So if you’re struggling for extra money on a regular basis, change the rules.
After all, they’re your rules.
What can you do quarterly (3 to 4 times per year) to bring in, say, a couple hundred bucks? If you only have to do it a few times per year, you can suffer through tough jobs to keep up with your savings account.
(Psst, if you have a spouse, divide and conquer! Each of you take a job and make the money you need that much faster.)
- Farm work. Farmers are always looking for dependable people to throw hay. You’ll stink and sweat, but you can make your money in a couple of weekends.
- Check the “Events” section under “Jobs” on your local Craigslist to see if you can get work for just a weekend or two.
- Have a house cleaning business. Some people only want their homes cleaned for parties and such, so you wouldn’t have to make a full time commitment.
- Sell things. Collect items to hold two yard sales per year. Check out
- Use your talents. If you love to bake, open yourself up to making cakes and cookies for people just a couple of times per year. (Scarcity sells more!) Play music at weddings or offer a class on your favorite topic.
Use these ideas to completely change your money and your life!
Remember that the way you think about your money is bigger than anything else. Use this tool in the best possible way for your family.
Another fantastic tool for your belt is the sinking fund. In fact, it’s like a hammer…powerful, and something you need to use often. Learn how to set up your sinking fund!
What makes you stumble when it comes to building up savings?