You obviously are reading right now because you want to save money (I'am guessing at least $5,000 worth and it is not easy for you to do so. If that is all true please keep on reading. This is not going to be simple and change will be part of the journey.
A big part of this savings journey is going to be about change. You need to realize this before starting and embrace it. Think about it like other parts of your life where you have been forced to make changes already. It was tough but it happened. Bad boyfriend/girlfriend? Did you move on? If so, you can do this. Many other situations apply, but you have to be willing to work with me here.
Now that we beat the shit out of it, lets examine the ways you can save $5,000.
It boils down to the following.
- Make more
- Do not spend so much
- Or try to do both
1. Dude you need a budget: I am sorry to be the bringer of bad news. If you are going to save money, you need to know where it is going. I started budgeting earlier this year in a spreadsheet. I actually enjoyed it quite a bit. You could see where all of your hard earned money was going. Need something a little simpler? Try out mint.com. I love Mint.com. I hook my accounts up and set a monthly budget with different spending areas. All of my transactions are tracked here with minimal effort on my part. I can click into any single budget area and see where I spent money. There are other free programs out there so do your research.
2. Break it Down and React Accordingly: $5,000 seems like a lot of money but break it down into smaller numbers. That is $416.66 a month or $96.15 a week. Once you break it down to what you need a week you can start making decisions based off your budget to help you get there. Skip a few meals out or a few coffees out. If you pay $100 a month for cable, try cutting it out. You will get $25 a week right there. Make smart decisions everyday that will help you come up with the money needed. If you get a few extra paychecks a year, save those to help jump start. If you get a tax return, save the whole damn thing if possible. For me looking at my budget helped me pick what I could cut out. I saw a lot of spending I was willing to give up. Once I did the savings started happening.
4. Seattle A City Full of Free Shit To Do: You live in Seattle: Every weekend in the summer there are free outdoor movies. What, you did not know? There are beaches for swimming in the summer and meetup groups a plenty. The university offers plenty of interesting things to do for free and the museums are free once a month on Thursday. Ever use a library? A favorite Swedish author of mine just wrote a book. $20 at Barnes and Nobles and free at the library. I waited for 5 days and it was mine for a month. I am not saying you have to only do free shit but if you are in need of saving $5,000, go ahead and go cheap skate for a while.
3. Automate It: If you are not good at putting money aside, create a separate account. Work with your employer to direct deposit money into that account. It is like your personal 401K. Most employers will let you split your direct deposit into multiple accounts. If you don't trust yourself, do something to put a little more distance between you and your money. Do not get a debit card for the account. Make it a savings so you can not write checks or easily access it.
4. Earn More: I will admit this is my least favorite option. I value my free time. With that said, living in Seattle opens up a lot of opportunity for earning at side jobs. Every coffee shop, restaurant and bar I visit seem to be hiring. Grocery stores, fitness places and other side gigs are bustling. If you do not have a little extra side money saved up, maybe you suck it up for a short period of time and take a side job.
Conclusion: Saving money is like losing weight. We all know the formula but it is not always so easy to do it. Knowing you have some extra savings in the bank will give you a little piece of mind. Go ahead and start enjoying the city without always spending your coin. Anyone else have some tips for saving up $5,000 in 12 months? Any Seattle specific tips?