Back to Basics: The 2018 Money Saving Challenge

 

I generally don’t do New Years resolutions, as I feel like they are destined to fail. But now that we’re rapidly racing towards the new year I know that I need to make some changes. I spend money like it grows out on a tree in the backyard. And I don’t even have a backyard. Especially these last months of the year. With buying presents for friends and family and the many social events, I seem to be bleeding money. I am also the worst at limiting myself and making myself save and set aside money for a rainy day. So I desperately need to turn that around. Motivated by this, I dug in and researched some money saving tips that I think will work for me, and perhaps even for you.

2018 has some really big events on the calendar for me. Those events will require some serious cash. Plus I’m sick of not being able to control myself whenever I see something nice or cute or adorable and I just have to have it. Seriously, my bedroom is filled to the brim with packaging from Asos and H&M. So this is it. My new year’s resolution is: start saving money for real.

Money saving tips

Because Lord knows I can use all the help I can get

Step 1: Keepin’ receipts like Kim K clapping back at Tay Tay

The biggest part of my spending problem is not knowing where my money goes. I just whip that card out and pay for whatever I want. Before I know it I’ve spent half my salary on things I really didn’t need, or particularly wanted. In order to map my expenses and to be realistic about what I can actually save per month I use an app or regular spreadsheet. I like the Mint budgeting app, Daily Budget is also pretty user friendly. But a good ol’ Excel spreadsheet works just as well. Did you know that Excel actually offers ready made templates? No need for screwing around with complicated formulas…

Step 2: Start your own French Revolution and cut cut cut

I’m not trying to reference the infantile name Mr. Trump initially came up with for his potentially disastrous tax plan. I’m talking about taking a good critical look at your monthly expenses and figuring out where you can cut your costs. For example, I have a really extensive travel insurance that I signed up for last year when I went to London for three months. I’ve been paying for that every month and I’ve barely taken any trips. I’m either going to dial down on the coverage, or completely cut it. By extensively mapping your fixed expenses, you also get a clear view of what really goes out. And how much you’re actually spending on seemingly inexpensive things like coffee and snacks for the road.

Step 3: Start saving today!

I used to think that every month, right before the next paycheck, I would just transfer what I had left to my savings account. But with that in mind, I actively worked towards having as little left as possible (sometimes even beyond, I really am horrible with money). But since last week I’ve been using a different method.

I start the week by transferring €1, then the next day €2, and I keep doing that until the week is over. That way you don’t really feel the hit in your balance, and by the end of the month you’ll have about €120 saved up. You don’t even have to wait until the new year to start doing this. My phone now has a set time reminder prompting me into transferring some more money into my special account. Every little small bit matters, after all.

Step 4: Budget yourself and stick to it

When I came back from living in London I was, without exaggerating, dead broke. My parents seriously helped me out during the short interlude between coming home and landing a job. But even after getting a steady income, I lived on a budget of just ten euros a week. It was rough, but I was amazed that I actually managed it. And although I hated not being able to go out for lunch oe coffee with my friends whenever I wanted to, it really did make saving easier. I never want to go back to having that little to spend, but it has opened my eyes about budgeting and sticking to it.

I’m going to set fixed budgets for things like (online) shopping, lunch or dinner dates, and a ‘calamity’ fund for unforseen events that may pop up during the month. So instead of desperately trying to stretch that paycheck, I’ll know within first glance if I have the possibility to do a certain thing.

And that’s it for now. My own personal money saving tips and a bit of a challenge as well. Follow these and we can both work at slowly becoming more adept with money, we’ll be frugal godessess in no time at all. But make sure to not be your own fun police either! It’s important to have a good time and share wonderful moments with the people you love. Plus, we all need an extra pair of shoes sometimes… right?

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