Happy Friday! We made it through the first week of April and I’m so ready for the weekend. I’m headed out tonight to celebrate a close friends birthday, yay! Before I dive into weekend mode, let’s take a glimpse at the importance of saving versus spending. If you know me, you know how much I love going out to dinner, attending events, and enjoying live entertainment. Experiencing life is essential but often times requires spending money. Here’s how to stay on top of saving more and spending less:
Create a budget
I can’t stress this enough. Completing a budget before the month begins helps you stay ahead of the game and allows you to be a good manager of your money. Here’s what I use each month to keep me on track. I recommend writing out a budget no later than 24 hours prior to the start of a new month. This helps you avoid any unexpected expenses.
Save first, then spend
You know that feeling you get when you’ve spent your entire check and haven’t saved a dime. For some odd reason, that’s when the car breaks down, your dog gets sick, or you end up losing a job. I’ve been there and it’s the worse feeling ever! Saving helps alleviate financial stress. I don’t use credit cards anymore and haven’t swiped my card in almost two years, so my only backup is savings. Society says you should have at least one to two major credit cards in the event of an emergency. My motto is ditch the cards and build your own interest-free emergency fund. It’s hard but so worth it!
A wise woman once told me that you should split your paycheck three ways: pay God, pay yourself, then pay your bills. Broken down, 10% of your check goes to your local church, 10% into savings and the remainder 80% covers living expenses. She would always say, “God can do more with my 80 than I can with 100!” After trying this method, I’ve found the motto to be true.
Stick to your budget
I know I sound like a broken record but this is key for financial freedom. You can’t save money if you’re constantly spending. The best way to excel with your budget is to stay focused. Cheating and falling off the wagon will only retard your progress. Think of it like your diet. You know that saying, “you are what you eat.” The same goes for your spending habits. You are what you buy. So save a little and by what you need. Splurge a little on your cheat/spend day!
Find deals & sales
Shop smart! Dying to watch the latest flick out?! Hop on Groupon and score discounted movie tickets at your local theater. If Groupon is too tempting find a theater in your area that offers bargain days. I love going to Cinemark on Tuesday’s because they feature $5 movies all day long. It’s a nice treat and makes going to the movies affordable!
Save it and don’t touch it!
Hands down one of the hardest parts about saving are not tapping into it prematurely. Our savings should be a rainy day fund. If you have a hard time touching your nest egg make sure it’s in a place that’s not attached to your checking account. I recommend an online money market account or a savings account with your local credit union. Be sure to add check-writing to the account, but keep it locked up so you’re not pulling it out and play. You want your savings to be accessible in the time of need but not as liquid as your personal checking account. When tempted to withdraw cash, go old school like MC Hammer and say, “can’t touch this!” Corny I know, but it’s a fun and friendly reminder to stay on target.
Just say, no.
Another hard part about saving is the ability to say no. Once I learned to do this I noticed my savings account really started to grow. It’s not possible to be at every event or celebration. Realizing what’s important in the long run helped me avoid making short-term decisions. For example, while saving I might opt out of happy hour at a bar and invite friends over for wine instead! No matter how you spend your weekend, remember you can still afford to live and laugh while staying on budget!