We have established our foundation. We are now keeping our checking account balanced, we are tracking our spending regularly (which means daily), and we are making sure our bills are getting paid on time by following our budget that we made.
Very Cool! Right?
Now we need to talk about savings. I’ve always saved money a little bit here and there, but I’ve never been serious about it the way I should’ve been.
And, when I think about all the money I’ve wasted over the years on stuff that meant nothing or even worse, on stuff that I don’t even have anymore, it honestly gives me a sick feeling.
I follow the same plan that I told you about in weeks 1, 2 and 3 of Monday Money. I make sure my checking account is balanced. I track my spending. And, I write down all my bills, when they are due and for at least 3 months in advance. I even write down on my budget each week how much I need for groceries and even gas for the car.
Now, let’s get back to saving money. As I said, I never took it serious. I mean I participated in the retirement plans at my jobs, but that was about it.
I’m more serious about our financial future now…
Every pay period I have a percentage of my gross income directly deposited into 2 separate saving accounts.
Savings #1: This saving account is for catastrophic events such as a job loss or illness.
The goal for Savings #1 should be 6 months worth of living expenses. Don’t forget to include groceries and gas in that amount.
Savings #2: This savings account always has a rotating balance because it is for those expenses that tend to sneak up on you, like auto insurance, personal property taxes, Christmas, or vacations.
The plan for Savings #2 is to make a list of those expenses that you know are going to come. Then take that list and determine each one’s due date. Divide the amount due by the number of pay periods you have left until that due date.
For example. If I plan to spend $1000 at Christmas (which is 8 1/2 months away) and I get paid monthly then I know I need to save about $118 a month in order to have that money for Christmas.
I also know that if I don’t save that money monthly that I will not have $1000 for Christmas. Because last time I checked I did not have a money tree in the back yard and I’ve never seen $1000 just fall from the sky into my hand in December.
Planning and saving for those expenses through the year keeps us from running up credit card debt or any other debt.
I believe the 4 steps for taking control of our financial future are:
- Knowing exactly how much money you have
- Knowing exactly how much your monthly bills and living expenses are
- Tracking your spending regularly
- Paying yourself FIRST (saving as much of your money as you can)
One of the most important factors to saving your money is creating the habit of saving. It didn’t matter that I had to start out with a small dollar amount going into savings. What mattered was that I created a habit of saving.
And, yep you know it…. that’s one habit I have no intentions of quitting!
Y’all take care!