Happy Monday, everyone! I’m back for another fun-filled work week and here for your blogging pleasure. The nice thing about this week, is I am just getting back from vacation. I feel relaxed, refreshed and ready to take on the week. The bad thing about this week is I have a pile of work to tackle and I will be leaving again in six days to take my family on a Bahamas vacation for my hub’s 40th birthday! Why would I do that to myself you say? Why would I plan two back-to-back vacations? Well, friends, the thing is, I didn’t plan it that way. My Thanksgiving get-a-way was not planned at all. Last week’s Florida vacation was completely spontaneous. I know the planners and budgeters in the room are probably freaking out. Believe me, 15 years ago I would have been too. It’s cool though, I am going to make it work. You know why, because the Hubby’s Bahamas “40th Birthday Bash” has been planned and paid for since March and we are ready to go!
So back to reality, right? Let’s be honest, coming back to work after a nice, relaxing vacation is not so much fun. There are mountains of work piled on your desk. Your inbox is full of unread emails just waiting for your reply. You are busy trying to play catch up from the time you missed and that can prove to be difficult. Especially if your coworkers want to talk with you about your time off. Did you enjoy it? Where did you go? What did you eat? Did you do anything fun? They are excited to hear all about it because maybe they didn’t get to go on vacation this year. For most, vacations are a luxury, that the majority of families can only afford once a year, at most. We are fortunate in that my husband and I make it a priority to take our family on vacation as often as feasible with a minimum impact on our normal budgets. It’s like saving for Black Friday all year to get the best deals and all the Christmas shopping done, with the smallest amount of damage to your wallet. For our family, time spent together is more special than a bunch of gifts under the Christmas tree, so we make sure to prioritize our “Black Friday” budget for our vacations and family adventures.
It isn’t always easy to save for a vacation, weekend get-aways, birthdays, holidays, or any other reason to save, but you should do it. It really helps to reduce stress and alleviate all of those bad vibes when the bills hit the mailbox! Believe me, I should know. I spent the majority of my 20’s trying to figure out where all of my money went, instead of keeping track of it and telling it where to go. It is so much nicer to be able to pay all the bills and still have a nice little chunk available at the end. No more paycheck to paycheck for this chick! I enjoy my $9.99 bottles of wine. Sometimes, they are more but let’s not get crazy! I always try to spend less than $20 on a bottle of wine. Here are a couple of my favorites if you are interested:
Also, make a note, if you drink wine like I do, a screw top is just fine. You aren’t trying to age this stuff. Let’s be real, you’re drinking the bottle in one night, two max. Enjoy!
Okay, sorry about that, I like my wine and it’s close to quitting time now, so I am wondering if I have a bottle in the chiller? Lord, I hope so. It is Monday after all.
I digress, back to savings. How many of you actually have a savings account? Hands? I hope quite a few are going up, but the 30-something in me, says probably not as many as I would like. Saving isn’t something we start thinking about usually until it’s too late. Your washing machine washed its last load, your refrigerator is no longer keeping your wine cold (Lord, help us all), or maybe the Toyota Corolla you’ve had since college rolled 200,000 miles and finally decided it can’t go one more mile. Whatever the case, it’s usually met with an “Oh Sh!t” moment, because guess what? You have no money to pay for the repairs or to buy a replacement for whatever appliance or vehicle that decided to die on you. Am I right? This is a terrible feeling. One of shock, loss of control, maybe some crying, possibly even a fight with the significant other in your life, because, “how could you be so irresponsible” and “what do you mean, we have NO MONEY?! These aren’t the warm and fuzzy moments that make life special. These are the moments that are cringe-worthy and that we avoid at all cost. All cost, except doing what would have actually avoided the situation which is to save money, duh!
Some of you may be saying, “I can’t save money, I only make “X” dollars per week”. I get it. I’ve been there. But just because you don’t make $1,000 per week, doesn’t mean you can’t set aside a little bit to save for a rainy day. So here are my tips for saving your money. Granted, it won’t be like “retirement worthy” savings, but it will get you that new refrigerator or washer that you need. Or maybe be able to take that Disney vacation you’ve been dreaming of.
- Open a savings account, preferably one that is not linked to your bank card or checking account. This will ensure you can’t just withdraw or transfer money into your checking whenever you need to. I suggest checking into one of the banks listed here.
- Do yourself a favor and get the highest interest rate account possible, but don’t sign up for an account that requires annual or monthly fees, if you can avoid it.
- I am not a huge fan of minimum savings amounts either, however, this will require you to be more diligent about your spending. If there is a $500 minimum balance requirement in your account, you will be less likely to take money out that you don’t need, mostly because a low balance will result in fees. Check out Nerd Wallet. They provide some decent tips to help save money and avoid fees.
- Set aside $5-$10 per week out of your paycheck to deposit into the account. Direct Deposit works best for this. That way, you never see the money anyway. It goes directly into the savings account, never to be seen again until you absolutely need it. Check with your human resources or payroll department to set this up. Most employers now have the ability to direct deposit into more than one account on your behalf.
- Once you have everything set up, sit back and watch your money grow. And if you want to save for something special like an island vacation, there are tons of planners and spreadsheets available online to help you know exactly how much you will need and to keep you on budget. One of my favorites is this spreadsheet. It is easy to use and doesn’t require too much effort. There are also tons of apps that you can download to help you save and budget as well.
Now that you have a few tips and tools you can use to help you get started on a savings plan, go ahead and start the process. You will see your pennies stacking up in no time! Then you can start planning for a spontaneous Florida vacation in the future!
As with all things, the blog for this week has come to its end. It’s time for me to get back to work. I have tons of things to accomplish this week before I head out again. I’ll be tackling work, school, and home and I hope you do the same. Just remember to take some time for yourself to reflect on all the good you are doing. Take a bath, go for a walk, enjoy a glass of that Pinot or Chenin-Blanc I recommended (seriously, go buy some). Take it a day at a time, friend. You’re doing awesome! Until the next time, cheers!