Years ago – long before my husband and I were even engaged – he began saving. (Notice I said “he.” It took me a bit longer to jump on that bandwagon.) I remember reading books with him on saving for the future, and paying down debt and before I turned 28, I had no credit card debt, no car debt and no student loan debt. My student loans were paid years prior to that. It was such a great feeling to not have those monthly payments.
We got engaged, and agreed to plan a wedding and honeymoon – and only pay cash. Our wedding day came in under $5000, and was fully paid for when we left for the Bahamas. (The all-inclusive honeymoon was also paid for.) It was such a great feeling to start off our marriage debt-free.
I will admit that I love to shop. I really love online shopping, and I find myself struggling some months to reign it in. Sometimes it’s SO easy to confirm my already-saved-debit card number or my Paypal information and make that purchase. Not everything is a deal, though. And I can live without one more pair of jeans. (Even if I feel like I “need” them.)
I think I mostly broke my habit of online spending last year when I was unemployed for 3.5 months. I’m actually luckier than many because I was able to find a job soon soon after losing my previous one. I had transitional pay (the company didn’t do severance pay) to help me for 15 weeks, but I still panicked. I budgeted like it was my job. I didn’t spend money unless I absolutely had to. I basically went back to my early days of saving.
1. Budget. Look at your monthly budget and figure out what you absolutely NEED to pay for. Electric? Gas? Water? You can’t NOT pay those bills. Plan for them.
2. Unsubscribe. Unsubscribe from all of those deals emails you’re receiving. We’re especially tempted right now with all of the decent Black Friday sales (but some of those sales really aren’t that great – and they’re no different than the emails that I received last week!)
3. Allot money for clothing, personal items, fun. I try to keep a percentage of money for fun.
4. Pay cash. I get paid once a month. I immediately move my necessity money to a different account – this would be for the mortgage and daycare. (Those aren’t taken directly from my paycheck.) I then figure out about how much to expect to pay for groceries and gas in my car each week. Oftentimes I’ll pay cash for groceries. If you pay cash, you’re less likely to splurge. (Who here likes to see their wallet emptying?)
5. Save. Whether it’s $5 a week or $50 a week, save some money in a savings account for an emergency. Our first emergency fund was $1000. It was a goal we set and it didn’t take super long to build that. We then kept saving until we had the equivalent of several months of our salaries. It was a nice feeling last year when I was unemployed that we had the money if we needed it. And we never had to dip into that emergency fund. (And three years ago – when I had an unexpected c-section – we had the money to pay for it, rather than paying interest on an enormous bill.)
6. Pay your bills on time. My husband had a bad habit of paying our water bill late. It’s a $15 late fee. If he does that every time, that is $90 in one year. That bill is now on a bank draft. I hated thinking of how much we were spending because we simply forgot to pay it.
This holiday, to encourage consumers to stay on track with their finances, Capital One 360 is decking the halls with deals you can bank on, including new account bonuses, referral bonuses and closing cost credits. While you may have gifts, greetings and get-togethers on the brain, it’s important not to lose sight of your financial goals. All of Capital One 360‘s Black Friday Sale deals are designed to encourage consumers to keep their finances top of mind.
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.