Mamas know best, and my mom has been giving me budgeting tips since I even owned a piggy bank. Quarters are more valuable than pennies, but pennies still get put into the bank. No touching the bank unless it’s an emergency. We’ll thank them for this someday. All of the above. Turns out, my mom’s money-saving tips have actually stuck with me from then til now, and they’ve been proving pretty helpful as I move onto big girl saving goals. I think it’s only right that I share them with you, too.
As soon as that direct deposit hits, put a portion of it straight into your savings account
This may or may not sound like common sense, but a lot of people tend to skimp out on putting their money into their savings accounts. My mom always told me to put around 15-20% of my earnings into my savings, but of course, this percentage will vary depending on your income and how much you are spending on necessities during that pay period. Once you put that money into your savings, you are not only growing that account balance, but you won’t even notice that it’s gone from your checking account. It’s a win-win situation. For optimal results, try not to touch that money until you’re much older or really, really need it.
Planners are your best friend
More than being an opportunity for cute journaling and scheduling, planners are key to budgeting. This can be done digitally on Excel, or through an app, but I love to go old school and write it down in an actual journal. The practice is simple: make a note for everything you save and spend. I’ve been watching my mom keep track of everything she earns, saves, and spends through monthly Excel sheets since computers were barely a thing. She swears by it and says that everyone should keep a visual record of their finances to keep track of their money because it’s more real when you see it right in front of you. Maybe you don’t need to spend $50 on iced lattes in a week?
It can be hard to save without a goal, so it’s important to ask yourself what you’re saving for. Saving can have shorter or longer term plans, whether it be saving for a future vacation, house, or just wanting to keep your bank account growing for whatever the future might hold. With these goals in mind, you’ll be more motivated to put cash into your savings. Is that cute top more important to you than your dream vacation to Bali? If not, put that money into your savings account.
It’s okay to say no to people
A big lesson that my mom taught me was that I’m allowed to tell people that I can’t go out with them if I didn’t want to or if I didn’t have the financial means to. So often, we spend our money in exchange for socializing, but sometimes, it’s beyond our financial ability to. Instead of going to an expensive dinner, suggest going to a free event or hanging out somewhere that doesn’t require you to dish out big bucks if you don’t want to cancel plans.
Repurpose, repurpose, repurpose
As most mothers do, mending and repurposing everything from clothing to pasta sauce jars helps the environment and keeps your money in your pockets. While we’re in such a spending culture, it’s tempting to purchase new things frequently, but more often than not, a lot of these things aren’t necessary for our lives. Instead, try to repurpose the things you already own, i.e. sauce jars for storage, old t-shirts into reusable rags, and altering clothing to change its style. The more mindful you are with what you own and how you can extend its use, the less you will need to go out and buy things just for the sake of it.
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