So, you liked the post on budgeting. Having always been frugal, saving for that special gift, vacation, or a super awesome pair of shoes has never been much of an issue for me. However, times are tougher now, and the piggy bank seems lighter, even when I haven’t been out living the high life. I came across an old, dog-eared article I pulled from some magazine or other in the 1980’s about how to boost your bank account by $3K in 3 months. Upon rereading, it seems plausible, but not possible. I’m going to attempt to reinvent that wheel for you lovely peeps.
It’s May. We’re all thinking Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, 4th of July – summer…And summer means vacation. Even if you prefer a staycation (apparently all the rage, and one I kind of like too), you’ll want to be able to treat yourself to something nice: a beach cabana for the day, overnight at a spa, or maybe, you need that road trip. Perhaps, you hate vacations, but want to bulk up your sparkly pink piggybank.
Let me issue you a little challenge my effervescent peeps. Whether you’re saving for that holiday or just pinching pennies for a rainy day, you can live with less and therefore have more.
The challenge is easy-shmeazy: Start by making a deposit into your savings account or one of those lovely little jars or envelopes tagged with your personal choice of prize. That can be a vacay fund, shoe fund, extra funds for GNOs – whatever. Once a week for two months, you’ll make some deposits, all different amounts. Your biggest deposit should be the first week of the month at $200 (adjust if you have to based on your income folks, I’m not looking to bleed you, just to help you save some $$) The beginning of the month it’s easier to have some breathing room. Pay your rent, utilities, etc. and bank that extra money. You’re less likely to miss the money if you start with the biggest deposit early. The second week, half that. $100 popped in the precious pink piggy. Remember, all of these dollar amounts are adjustable, and you may only save $500, but that’s cool – you’re saving. 😊 Of course, if you’re hauling in the big bucks, you can double your money faster… all personal and up to you.
Here’s the breakdown of two simple options my wonderful peeps. If you need any further adjustments, do so – any savings are better than no savings!
|Week 1: $200/$100||Week 5: $200/$100|
|Week 2: $100/$50||Week 6: $100/$50|
|Week 3: $150/$75||Week 7: $150/$75|
|Week 4: $50/$25||Week 8: $50/$25|
Total: $1000/ $500
Now, you’re wondering how you are going to put away some of this moola. For most people, after the initial bills, rent/mortgage, groceries, utilities, car payments, etc. there is some extra. How you choose to use that extra is all in your capable, adorable hands. So let me give you a few tips that will show you how easy it is to earmark that cash for your future vacation, savings, or whatever.
- Limit those GNOs. I know, it feels great to get out there and socialize, but your wallet is feeling the stress. All those drinks, dinners and Ubers (or parking lot fees) add up in no time. I am the first one to endorse a healthy social life, but there has to be a limit, folks. Try keeping it to just the weekend, or one night a week, if you must. And use cold, hard cash, no credit cards. (You’ll just feel bad in the morning, or when the bill comes in.)
- Learn to cook – eat at home. I am not suggesting you become the next Bobby Flay or Nigella Lawson, but keeping a few simple recipes on hand can save you some serious dough. Sign up for a weekly recipe e-mail or a great website with tons of recipes, like Food52.com. You can even create a recipe box on the site. And by all means, don’t try out those unique recipes that call for obscure and pricey ingredients. Keeping it simple will keep your cost down and tummy happy.
- Purge. Sell or donate the stuff you don’t love or use anymore. Clean that closet and all those kitchen gadgets. Yard sale, donation, eBay – however you get rid of it, simple is better. Modern life is all about simplicity, so declutter now, and learn to live with less. This mentality will also help you spend less on those odd mall jaunts.
- Maximize your errands: Guilty here folks- you know how it is…you pop into Target for a birthday card, paper towels, and some peanut butter, and walk out with a cartful of stuff. I promise you, the new coffee pot, socks, t-shirts and dollar spot items are completely unnecessary. Condense the number of times you shop per week as well, and ALWAYS go with a list.
Remember, none of us NEED all that stuff, and it’s just as fun to have Girl’s Night Out at your place. Potluck, board games, and some homemade sangria are much less in the long run than chips, guacamole and margaritas, even on a Tuesday. If you must go out, use cash, not credit cards. Be frugal, be smart. Live simple and save. Your dream vacation awaits.
Stay motivated and caffeinated!😉☕