brace yourselves bitches, because shit is gonna get real with life lessons up in herr. i'm going to put on my "i'm older than (most of) you" hat because let's face it, there aren't many 37-almost-38 year old bloggers out there and i've got at least a good 5-8 years on you sluts which gives me the mega sads because who wants to be an old hag but also gives me the right to mother you by imparting some wisdom in your faces when it comes to saving money. you're welcome. and also, thank Sarah for this too, since this was her idea.
now, keep in mind that i'm a cheap chinawoman so being a cheap motherfucker is what i do. it's ingrained in my blood and part of my heritage. indian people are the same. don't look at me like that; i'm not being racist - ask any chinese or indian person and they'll totally agree: we know how to save money. we also love sticking it to the man and that man is any store, government service and plain ol' regular prices so we wiley chinese will find a way - any way - to pay less that what is being asked. booyah.
i've read a lot of posts from various bloggers mentioning they have little savings, can't afford to do x, y, z, have no money and the likes of that. and trust me, i've been there before and being broke licks major asshole but my cheap asian ways are strong like my kung-fu and got me out of the hole.
so if you want to stop playing russian roulette with your bank balance and be like this:
put down your wallet and listen to mamabear because this bitch knows what she's talking about.
1// make a plan. as in a 5 year plan of where you want to be financially. want a home? a hefty investment portfolio? a fat nest-egg? a new car? put it in your plan. then write down the things you're going to do in order to accomplish each goal. by having a tangible plan that you can see on paper, you have someting to work towards. when i was in college i did exactly this and i did everything in my power and sacrificed a lot to make it happen. by the time i was 25, i had crossed everything off my 5 year plan which included owning my own home.
2// once you have your plan, prioritize from 1 to X. for me, being debt free was #1 on my list. if you have student loans or any debt sitting around, this should be #1 on your list, too. having loans riding your ass will sabotage any and all future savings efforts so do whatever you can to pay that shit off first and foremost. if that means temporarily moving back into your parents' house, then do it. if it means eating spam in the dark for a year and being broke as hell, do it. once you have that shit cleared, all the extra money you have goes into your pocket instead of the bank's.
3// consolidate all of your loans. if you have credit card debt coming out the ass, give yourself a bitchslap and then head to the bank. think about consolidating your loans, apply for a line of credit (LOCs typically have lower interest rates), pay all that shit off with your LOC and then work towards paying off the LOC. also, cut up your credit cards and only stick with one for emergency purposes only. lower the max credit limit on that bitch too, since you obviously have a spending problem.
4// budget your ass. i've fallen in the spending hole too many times: you get a job that pays well and what do you do? what this asshole above is doing. and not saving shit. and still (permanently) living in your mom's basement or worse, your moms is paying for some of your shit. or even worse, you're living paycheck to paycheck and almost always in the red. remember that finanaical burdens will only get worse so budget your ass - sit down, open up excel and start documenting all of your monthly income vs expenses. list everything from utility bills to insurance to even those miscellaneous expenses. see what bullshit you're spending your money on and work to cut that out, then stick to your budget.
food is the biggest expense for most people, as in eating out. folks: if you can read, you can cook. i ain't the best cook in the world but my cheap ass would rather save the money and if that means i have to make a meal at home for breakfast, lunch and dinner, then so be it.
buying lunch every day? make that shit at home and bring it to work. the average lunch costs $10 so i'm going to be a math genius for a second and tell you that this equates to $50 in savings weekly or $200 monthly or $2400 yearly. that's $2400 a year you could be putting towards your downpayment. or car. or investments. or vacation. or whatever gives you a boner.
that coffee on the go? if you get those fancy bullshit starbucks mixed coffees which are about $5, that's $25 weekly, $100 monthly or $1200 yearly you're spending. don't you want that money in your pocket instead of starbucks lining their pockets with it? make that shit at home, pour it in those coffee container thingies and head off to work knowing that your wallet is $5 heavier.
heading downstairs for snacks? buy that shit in bulk from costco and take it to work. i have a drawer stock-full of healthy snacks in my desk. not only will you save money but all those snacks you buy at work are high calorie garbage that does nothing but waste your money and your calories. when you bring your own snacks to work, you save money and your waistline so it's a double win.
5// save your money. now that you know what your income is from #3, target to put away at least 20% of each pay check (after expenses) into your savings. if you can't do this every pay day, put away as much as you can but no less than 10%.
6// fuck banks! they're money taking whores. i hate that they charge you ridiculous fees just for keeping your money in there so shop around for low or zero service fee accounts. if you really like your bank or are too lazy to move, here's a tip: ask your bank about service fee rebates/credits. what they don't advertise is if you have 2 or more services with them (ie. a credit card and checking account) they will credit you back the service fees, BOOM! this is how i got my bank to give me back my fucking $15 monthly service fee. or you can be a bitch like me and threaten to move and then tell them to stop taking your money when they plead with you not to leave.
7// dump most of your money into high-interest savings accounts. remember the whole "fuck banks!" thing? there are other institutions like ING Direct that are strictly for savings and give way better interest rates than regular banks. since you'll know what your expenses are from #3, keep only that amount in your checking account (plus a 10% buffer for those "oh shit!" expenses we often forget about) and sock the rest of your money in a high interest savings account. let your money work for you, goddammit! also, ING has a tax-free savings account where you won't get taxed on the interest you earned. you can dump up to $5K per year so max that out, bitches, and then sit back and ball like crazy.
8// set up automatic monthly withdrawls from your checking into your savings account. my favorite tip! because you set it and forget it and then when you check back X months later, it's like fucking christmas! even if it's $25 or $50 per pay or per month, that's better than nothing. the first time i did this, i completely forgot about that account. when i checked back about a year later, i had over $3000 in that account and i pretty much had an orgasm right there.
9// shop around for car insurance. insurance companies are like banks: money taking whores. many insurance companies will default to the highest package which has something like $1M liability and all kinds of high paying things that regular folks like you or i don't need nor understand. it's their way of legit stealing money from us. look at your policy and reduce those crazy liability payouts and increase your deductable in order to reduce your monthly premiums. also, insurance companies will give you better rates if you're a long-time customer, have a clear record and if you have a decent car and by that, i mean a boring sedan that is light in color. also, if you're not chinese or indian and over 25, it works in your favor. again, not being racist but these are legit rules (at least in toronto). my asain peeps are good with the monies, not with the driving *sadface*.
10// PLAN AHEAD. planning is the key to saving up for big things, son. if you know you're going on vacation next year, start saving NOW. even $50 per pay or per month until your vacation starts, you'll have saved up more than half of your trip by the time you leave without dipping into your savings.
11// cut up all but one of your credit cards and then only use cash. keep that card only for emergencies. when you only have cash in your wallet to spend, you start to rethink what you're really spending on and will likely reserve your money for truly needed expenses.
12// if all else fails and you've proven yourself useless when it comes to savings, hire someone to do it for you. as in a financial planner. they'll help you get your shit in order.
are you a cheap bitch like me?
do you have trouble with savings?
what are your money-saving tips?