If you’re a regular reader of Girlfriend’s, Budget… you’ll know it’s no secret that saving is my very favorite part of this whole budgeting thing! While I do love that accomplished feeling of knowing all my bills are paid on time, my debt is minimal or non-existent, and I have some extra money to blow (because I’m living below my means), it’s just something about saving that makes me feel so bo$$ every time I hit that transfer button and see those digits in my account increase!
It’s like my little pot of gold that I know is tucked away at the end of the rainbow, ready and waiting for me in the event life throws me any major financial curve ball.
As a Financial Coach, I teach all my clients how to get on the path to financial freedom by using a very simple budget pyramid. The lessons of one step leads up to the next... until this budgeting thing becomes your normal way of life. Saving is like the 3rd step in the budgeting pyramid, but talk more about steps one and two below...
The foundation of getting your financial sh*t together starts with knowing how to first manage your money by living below your means and paying all bills on time (since that is 35% of your credit score). The second step is to then pay off some debt in order to free up funds to start saving… because you can’t really save if your debt is eating up all your extra cash.
RELATED: How to Dig Out of Debt.
Once these two steps are tackled. You’re now ready to move on to saving, girlfriend!
But it’s not just one pot of gold, there’s several.
I’ll explain what I mean…
When it comes to savings accounts, I always encourage people to try to have more than just one, because if you really think about it, often times you’re not wanting to save for just one goal. Most individuals want to simultaneously save for a new house or car, while also wanting to save for a vacation and stash a little away for a rainy day.
So that probably seems like a lot of freakin’ saving, right?!… But it’s all possible with a well-planned out budget.
I cannot stress this enough. Your money can go so much further than you think when you really learn to use it as a tool to do the things you want… instead of blowing it on meaningless frivolities.
Trust me... I’m a living witness.
So today... I'm sharing with you some savings accounts that I’d recommend and the purpose for each one.
Let’s start saving, girlfriend!
An Incidental Savings is an account that allows you to have money set aside in the event of a minor or major emergency. I’d highly recommend building this account up to equal at least 9 to 12 months of expenses. You can calculate how much should be in this account by adding up all your monthly bills and multiplying by 9 (on the low end) and multiplying by 12 (on the high end). There’s your range… and that's the goal you should shoot to achieve in this account.
You really want to reserve this account for emergencies only though. Here’s a few scenarios to think about:
Scenario 1: You get into a car accident and your insurance is requiring you to pay (at minimum) a $500 deductible to get your vehicle repaired.
Scenario 2: In that same car accident you hurt yourself and now need to get x-rays at the emergency room.
Scenario 3: Your job is downsizing and you have just been laid off.
So where’s a girl to turn to for help?... Your Incidental Account, girlfriend!
You see... when you set yourself up to be financially prepared for some of life’s gut punches, it truly makes disastrous events like the ones listed above much less stressful.
Here’s where you get to be a little selfish, girlfriends!
A Personal Savings is an account that you’ll want to build on in order to make a pricey purchase for yourself… that way when something comes up that you just gotta have, you’ll already have a little money stashed away and won’t have to go digging in your Incidental Savings.
I actually highly recommend this account specifically for couples who have intermingled their finances together. I suggest this because… let’s face it, we all want a little stash of our own.
Let’s say you want to save up for a fancy date or a nice gift for a birthday or anniversary celebration. Or what if you just want to treat yo’self to a trip or a hangout with your girlfriends.
You can use this account to save up for those types of things without your partner feeling like you’re taking from the money you all have saved together. It will be your own money that you’ve set aside for yourself… to splurge just how you like.
I’ll give you a personal example:
Recently my all-time favorite artist, Janet Jackson, came to my city to perform. And if you know me personally, or follow me on Snapchat… you’ll know how much I absolutely LOVE Janet Jackson. So, of course, this was an opportunity I just couldn’t pass up, because who knows when (or if) she’d be going on tour ever again!
Thank Heavens for my personal savings... because this concert was definitely not something I had budgeted for. But since I already had a nice cushioned amount saved up in this account, I was able to pay for the ticket in full without the worries of having to put it on a credit card or figure out how to pay someone else back later.
Actually, I really splurged because I bought this $40 t-shirt… that nobody but Janet could have made me pay $40 for, but still had a few hundred dollars left over in this account... because I’m choosy about my purchases.
No, this is not an excuse to have every little thing on your “gotta have” list, but you’ll more-so want to be reserved and choosy with what you spend this money on… especially so this account has time to build. If you’re spending it on every little thing, you’re defeating the purpose of this account and ultimately… you’ll have nothing in it.
We all need a little vacation from time to time right? And if you and your boo (or friends) like to travel as much as Dee and I do, you’ll definitely want a dedicated travel savings. If you and your partner are putting a little money into this account each time you get paid, you’ll see how quickly it begins to add up.
While you’re saving, you can begin doing your research on pricing for the places you want to go and things you’ll want to do while there. That way you’ll know exactly how much you’ll need to be saving in this account. There’s no faster way to ruin a wonderful trip of rest and relaxation than to come back faced with a pile of vacation debt.
So do yourself a favor… prepare and save prior to taking your trip. Trust me, you’ll thank me and yourself later!
RELATED: How to Incorporate Vacations into Your Budget!
So while you’re doing all this saving for Incidents, Personal, and Travel… we can’t forget to set ourselves up for retirement, right girlfriend? That’s where your 401(k) plan comes in.
Don’t know what a 401(k) plan is? Let me briefly explain…
According to The Wall Street Journal, a 401(k) is a retirement savings plan sponsored by an employer. So basically, you contribute a percentage of your paycheck (before taxes) to a plan that offers a spread of stocks, bonds and money market investments managed by an administrator that your employer usually hires.
The best part of a 401(k) plan is that nearly every plan offers matching funds. In other words... FREE MONEY!
Let’s say you choose to put in 3% of your $50,000 pre-tax salary and your company offers a 3% match. Well guess what, girlfriend? By the end the year you’ll have at least $3,000 stashed away in a retirement account just for you!
And since these funds are tied to the stock market, you’ll gain what’s known in the financial world as… compound interest! Which means at this point, your money is now working for you… even while you sleep! (Well that was easy, huh?!)
I know many individuals who refuse to put money into a 401(k) plan because they think their net check will be significantly less and they’ll be struggling to get by. But listen hunty, when you master step one of the Financial Freedom pyramid, Money Management, you’ll learn to make it work with what you have and live within your means… especially if that means setting yourself up to enjoy the fruits of your labor in your golden years.
I mean really… who wants to work forever? Definitely not I…
I’ll be on the beach somewhere in my old age sippin’ a pina colada without a care in the world…
And I’m hoping you’ll be there to join me!
Drop a line below and let me know what you think of this post!
Until Next Time,
P.S. This is not a comprehensive list of savings accounts...just accounts that I suggest. Each individual or household will be different.
Other ideas for savings accounts: house savings, car savings, new baby savings, college savings, medical surgery savings, etc.
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