Believe it or not, many people do not have a savings plan in place. When I say savings here I am being a little general and referring to people in the US and including college, emergency, retirement, etc. Basically, any kind of savings. I was a little curious what that number might be like so I asked Google.. Apparently 1/3 of people do not have a savings! That is a lot of people y’all. I am ashamed to be in that fraction. Another startling statistic that I pulled from Google is that 75% of people are living paycheck to paycheck. I am in that percentage as well. *cue the pity party*
When I listed out my 30 before 30 goals I made sure that one of them was to increase my emergency savings fund. To some people this means having $1,000. To others it means having enough to live for 1-6 months if income were to be stopped. For me, it is a mixture of the two. I am aiming at the $1,000, but ultimately planning on having enough for 6 months starting 1 month at a time in addition to the $1,000. I am here to tell you that I have made no considerable addition to that non-existent savings of mine. Why? I was overwhelmed with where to start. Being a single mother, I do not have a lot of income. I spend a lot of it shuffling kids to and from therapy and doctor appointments, paying bills, fixing broken down vehicles, and sipping lattes. This leaves little left over. But, how much is leftover? Good question! I have spent the last month figuring this out.
I have always had a budget in my head, but never really took the time to write it out. This has lead to me having “extra money” in certain areas that I should have been putting elsewhere *ahem savings* but instead used it as disposable income. Bad idea!! I thought that since I kept to the budget in my head and that my basic needs were met that I was on track. Boy was I wrong!
The good news is that I am on the right track now thanks to Dave Ramsey. Y’all just excuse me for a minute while I turn into one of those people. I had heard of Dave Ramsey’s financial advice before and saw some of his success stories in close friends of mine, but the common factor in all of these people was that they were married. What does marriage have to do with Dave Ramsey? Well, nothing, but I always assumed that in order to have a savings that you had to have a lot of money or two incomes.
I don’t consider myself to be living above my means. I don’t live off of credit cards. I don’t even have credit cards. I have my bank accounts and debit cards. I don’t buy extravagant things. I buy used, and tend not to spend money unless I can afford it. Stepping back, I can see where I have been kidding myself and spending money that I should have been saving. It isn’t a lot of money at once, but those little purchases add up. Two lattes a week is $40 per month. That might not seem like much to some of you, but to this single mama $40 is almost a phone bill or internet bill. It is an extra gift for my children for Christmas. When I think of that money being “wasted” instead of saved it breaks my heart.
My plan: Continue to write my budget down every month. Scrutinize my budget every month. Look at what I can get rid of. Start saving, even if it is $5 per week! I would hate to have to report back here that more time has passed and I have saved nothing!
Dear Readers, what are some of your savings tips?