I want to start by saying that everybody’s strategy is going to be very different – we all have things we cannot live without, for some it may be cable TV, an annual trip, a gym membership or something for your family. Additionally, not everyone has the same goals. You might be saving to purchase your dream car, or even simply provide for your household. With that being said, I believe that saving requires a balance, as I might crave that really nice dinner a lot more if I never go out, or do anything that costs. Treating yourself will have you less likely to cave and revert back to old spending habits.
Recently, I had this epiphany that I am now an adult. Yes, this sounds ridiculous considering I’m into my mid-twenties, but when I received pre-approval to buy a city home on the west coast, I felt it truly hit me like that time my sister actually crushed a water bottle onto my face out of anger (Fifteen years, and this memory is still real). I live in one of the most expensive cities in the world, and I am a millennial that is entirely self-funded. How on earth would I be able to secure this, right?
I was having coffee with one of my friends, who also has been going through this process lately, and she asked me what my strategy was, and I am sharing it now in the event that it can inspire others to help achieve their goals, while still enjoying other areas of life, as anyone can adopt this method in some way, regardless of income and lifestyle.
If you happen to have a chequing and savings account, have your income deposited into the chequing, and take a good look at this number – how much of it do you REALLY need, and how much would you spend on extra little things? This will differ for everyone during different times in life, and perhaps if you try this, it may not look like you are really saving that much – however, even if you place as little as $100 in your savings each month, this will become $3,600 in three years, which is still helpful towards your objectives and something to be proud of.
For me, I made a goal that I would take a certain percentage of my income each month, and transfer it into my savings account, which I then do not touch or withdraw from. This creates an “out of sight, out of mind” phenomenon that results in me having to make strategies more wisely with the rest. For example, I stopped buying breakfast on the way to work, I used my debt card more and my credit card much less, all the while thinking out my trivial expenditures more and remembering the value of a dollar. I evaluate my purchases more, yet I don’t feel as though I am limited or lacking in terms of what I am able to do or consume.
As a result, I was able to achieve my goal of being approved for a condo much sooner than expected, with about 25% ready – all the while, still partaking in events or occasional coffee outings. I didn’t feel stressed or burdened by this process at all because the budgeting had already been done for me – I didn’t avoid events and activities all together, I simply became more selective until my goals were met.
Additionally, it felt good to see how much can be saved, especially since I used to have a habit of eating out for meals, instead of attempting to craft things. If it worked for me, it may work for you!
Featured photo credit: Binyamin Mellish via pexels.com