Big goals can be hard. Set small goals to save money
This story goes back 10 years or so before my husband and I were married. We were living in a new house we had purchased together, I was doing my MBA part time and commuting three hours to school every weekend. I was just starting out on my career and making what I’d call “ok” money but I was also paying approximately 20k in tuition every year. My then-boyfriend, now husband, was making more money than me, had no commute, no tuition payments and spending money like it was going out of style while I was basically living on $100 a month in discretionary spending. I have never been more stressed in my whole entire life but was afraid to speak up. Moving into this house had made my daily commute to and from work almost an hour each way whereas he could be at work in 5 minutes. My costs were going up across the board and his were down dramatically.
Finally, he seemed to clue in and that was the first time we discussed having a budget and trying to save money. Let’s be fair, I had always lived on a budget and had no debt to speak of. He never budgeted and had maxed out his credit card bills before we’d met. He ate out every day, and at this point in his life he also smoked a pack of cigarettes a day. After tracking his “discretionary” spending for a few weeks, we discovered he was easily blowing over $50 a day on essentially nothing whereas I was spending less than $30 a week on things like lunch, coffee etc. So we made a pact. Every two weeks when he got paid we would each get $200 in cash that we could spend on anything that we wanted, no questions asked but whatever we had left after the two weeks whether it was $20 or a penny would go into the Savings Jar. The first thing he wanted to “save” for was the Xbox 360 which hadn’t been released yet. For him to get in the savings mode we had to first set a “fun” savings goal.
You are probably thinking that we didn’t have any money left at the end of the two weeks and I think you’d be surprised. It became a competition. Pure and simple. We are competitive and neither wanted to be beat by the other. We actually treated the unveiling of the leftover money as a bit of a ceremony and we tracked the jar total. At first we were putting maybe $20 or $40 in and then suddenly $100 and then $200. Before a blink of an eye we had saved over $5000 without really depriving ourselves and easily purchased the Xbox. In fact, because of our savings competition we also paid for our wedding and honeymoon in cash.
Setting big goals can be overwhelming at times. You’ll be amazed at what you can achieve when you set small goals to save money.