This is my most requested topic. Today we are talking about, SAVINGS! Because of all the money topics it seems simple but is actually a tricky one to get right.
I recently asked in my Bliss Your Money Facebook group, What questions do you have about money? While there are alot, one in particular comes up all the time. It’s one of the things I get asked about the most.
How do I save?
Constantly my clients and people who come to me are trying to … get out of debt, create a savings account, retirement plan and get to a place where they have some cash on hand and some money in the bank!
And a savings plan is often the thing that we tend to cover last, because it feels like it’s complicated, especially for entrepreneurs whose income is unpredictable and is always fluctuating up and down.
Your income varies. So it freaks you out to think about saving and retirement, but you know that you need to do it.
- Do you feel like, every time you put some money away into your savings, it just pops right back out again… because:
- You had a slower month, or
- The car breaks down
- The kids school fees are due
- You haven’t taken a vacation and I desperately need time off
- You decide you must get to that conference or do that training program….
I’ve been there! (I’ve so been there.)
In fact, until four years ago, I wasn’t saving ANYTHING either. I would put money away then something would happen and bam – it would come straight back out.
For all kinds of reasons! Every reason imaginable.
I put money in my savings account and then just like that I’d have a car expense or my son would need dental work or some other school thing, you know? I know you know!
I work so hard, manage the bills and put the money away in a separate account, only to pull it right back out a week or so later. I did this so many times I couldn’t even count.
These days however I’m saving consistently, and it’s growing. My savings are not huge, but there’s a few thousand dollars in there and compared to zero that is a lot! And compared to the up and down cycle, what really matters and gives me a little boost every time I look at it is the consistency of the growth and watching it build.
When it comes to savings, the question isn’t just how to make money (which we talk about all the time), but the more important question is how do you keep and grow it?
If you don’t have savings, don’t beat yourself up – doing that just makes you feel worse.
Instead, take a deep breath and let’s look at where this problem comes from and what to do to solve it.
Most Americans are one to two paychecks away from total financial disaster.
Did you know that? And for people who own their homes, their primary source of investment and equity is in their homes. We are no longer a country of wealth, but a country of debt.
Some people say, oh, right, this is just late stage capitalism.
And there’s a lot of truth to that. The economy is structured in terms of class and race and gender. Who has access to networks, as well as who has access to capital and resources all play a part.
My issue is that so many people stop there. They tell me, “Well no one else is saving money, so I guess I can’t either.” And that’s an easy out.
A lot of young activists, business owners or people who are busy ‘getting their hustle on’ will say things like “oh well nobody can ever make any money or do anything unless you’re really super wealthy because capitalism.”
Don’t get stuck because you believe that the economic system is screwing you over and there’s no way out.
Take ownership of your situation and what you can change!
We humans created money. And it’s up to us, as human beings, to figure out how to shift the system. The economic systems and the banking system etc are all things we created and so we have the collective power to change them.
We will talk more about that in future posts!
Let’s get back to the problem I see with a lot of my clients facing when it comes to building savings.
You get to the end of the month and there’s more month than money. So you’re scrambling to figure out how to make it to the next paycheck.
You never put money away.
And even when there’s extra, you suddenly find yourself having to fix your car, and you want to have some fun and something nice some time, so isn’t a windfall the best time do something kind for me?
First Step: PLAN to SAVE
If you don’t have an emergency fund or back up plan, when the car expense comes up, it has to come out of our everyday living situation, or your limited savings.
That is, until I decided to put away money in a place that I couldn’t find it, or at least, couldn’t see it AND didn’t have a card to just pull the money right out again.
I had to hide this money from my spending self.
There’s two things:
1. Plan to save. Put it in your budget like your phone bill. It is MANDATORY.
2. You need to pre-plan where you are going to put your money and how easy (or hard) it is going to be to access the cash.
Simply by putting your savings with a different bank than your everyday spending you are making it more difficult to access it – which means you’ll think harder about taking it out. And give yourself more time to STOP when you’re thinking about it.
And usually if you give yourself a little bit of time you can work out an alternate plan. You can. If that money was already spent, you would. So think of that money that’s put away as gone. Completely gone. Do not plan on using it.
SECOND STEP: MICRO INVESTING (OR MICROSAVING)
Instead of even using a bank account I have been using Acorns. This is a micro-investment app that will help you put away small amounts of money on a regular basis and trade it on the stock market.
NB – this is an affiliate link if you sign up I’ll get a bonus, AND so will you!
You can start with as little as $5. They encourage you to have some kind of regular contribution and I started with a very low contribution (of around $10 a month) and I ramped it up over time.
*Acorns doesn’t require a minimum amount to open an account. To start investing, however, your Round-Ups or one-time investments must add up to at least $5.*
$10 a month meant that I felt confident it would be in my normal bank account when the withdrawal came through and that is was going to be sustainable. I didn’t worry about it.
Wait, what? Yeah, I didn’t worry about saving $10 a month.
$10 a month wouldn’t destroy my ability to eat food or take care of my car, make sure everything was paid.
And it didn’t trigger my need to spend it all.
How did I choose how much money to start with?
I asked myself this question I think is really useful, which is, how much money do I feel like I can spend without checking in with myself? Right?
How much money could you spend at any time and not really worry about it?
For me that was $20. So I made it less than that.
I knew that I could count on myself for $20 to spend as I like.
For 3-4 months I just did $10 a month. It seems silly, right?
But the issues wasn’t that I couldn’t save, it’s that my nervous system was trained to take it all right out. And I didn’t TRUST myself. I believed myself to be untrustworthy. And thus I just believed that I would never be able to save.
If you’ve been following my work, you’ll know that learning to trust yourself is KEY to being able to have a great relationship with money.
We’ll stop there for today.
But our next piece of savings is about: Increasing My Contributions
Want to continue the conversation? Or catch my next Facebook Live where I share all kinds of money tips and trainings?