Saving money can be a tricky thing. Especially say if you’re like me, a single mom of two, with no roommates…
I always feel that the first question I must ask is, What am I saving for? Then of course how much will I need? I’m going to talk about saving for an “item”, not retirement.
Your “item” might be Christmas money, money to repair a old car, or other hobby, or maybe you’re looking to get together a down payment on a house. Whatever the case may be…
Once you’ve decided you need to save for something, it’s time to plan it out.
Step One: The budget factor!
Create this on 2 levels: Monthly & Yearly. Look at this as an example, these figures may not be even close to what you’re spending & making, but it’s similar to mine.
Business Income – $660
the part time job income – $500
child support – $224
Total $1384 (x 12 = yearly income) $16,608
Monthly Cost of Living:
Rent – $325
Electricity – $150
Water – $75
cel phone – $67
cable & internet – $63
car insurance – $60
fuel – $100 (wait $100/mo on fuel?.. yes… I drive a Civic not an s.u.v.! 38mpg baby, there’s a real way to save money!)
Total – $840 (x12 = yearly cost of living) $10,080
So somewhere through the other $6,528 I’m gonna have to buy food, dog food, vet cares, toiletries, things I want, going out, whatever… and manage to save something so I can have Christmas & fix my old Mustang. You see, learning to save on a low budget is possible.
For starters, I believe in tithing. I give to my church regularly, although guess what, I’ve never gotten up to paying 10% of my income. Needless to say, I’ve had no major financial blessings in my life, although I’m always taken care of & end up getting a LOT of things for free… So I should give 10% and I think I’d be better off, but I haven’t, but for this example, we’ll say 10%… Not that this is meant to be a sermon ok, but budgeting around tithing is a priority for many of us.
Monthly – $138
Now my income is $1,246
– minus Cost of Living & tithing – $406
I keep all my bills in ONE place. All my bills fall into Cost of Living as I do not have any DEBTS. If I can’t save for it & buy it outright, I don’t need it. That’s why I’ve managed to keep myself comfortable & happy out on my own & the means to save in the first place. You see my income is not already completely spent in bills to creditors. amen.
I keep a list of each bill, each cash income, & all my other spendings on a dry erase board right in plain view! I’m always aware of what I’ve spent & what I have on hand. It’s sorta in check register format, but i round up to the nearest dollar on the board.
As soon as I’ve been paid, I write my checks for bills due, take my fuel cash allowance out & my tithing. Really I keep up on a bi-monthly basis to go with my paydays from my part time job & I don’t spend my self employment earnings until then either.
I have my paychecks electronically deposited, and deposit money from clients immediately, I don’t carry cash unless I pull an allowance for something (which I’ve usually saved for).
As soon as I know all my bills are covered, I decide what I need for groceries ect., then split the rest. Then I electronically transfer the money to a savings acct., and live like I don’t have that money.
This last paycheck I put aside $17 into my general fund, which I will divide up as needed later. I prioritize Christmas money and the rest I decide on as needed.
This is all just my very basic way of saving money, when I have very little. Hope it’s useful to you.