Bonjour mes amies! Let’s chat about one of my favorite subjects (non, not littérature française or Cubism) but Finance, the fourth component of Cappuccinos and Consignment.
Saving money when you feel that every penny is needed for day-to-day life is a common occurrence. A 2021 investment article stated that 58% of Americans are unhappy with the amount of money they have in their savings.
Not so long ago, I would’ve been a part of that percentage. I often share avec mes amies how in the not-so-distant past, I was a newly divorced-single mom earning less than $19,000 a year. I look back, and I can’t believe that we made it, in style nonetheless.
Money was so scarce in our household that I created a game called lazily named “pick the pennies.” My then toddler (he’s now fifteen and spends every birthday in Paris) and I would go to playgrounds in affluent neighborhoods and see who could collect the most pennies from the park while he played. My finances were stretched so thin that I rotated the weeks in which we could buy juice because I didn’t have enough money to cover his chemotherapy treatments and groceries.
I truly counted every penny that I had, but I always remembered the word of my grand-mere “always save something, anything.”
And so I did.
Sharing my neighbor’s Wi-Fi, I logged on and opened a bank account with a bank that didn’t have locations in my city. By doing so, I knew that if I were tempted to withdraw the money, I would have to wait at least a week to receive a check by mail.
I set up an automatic deposit for $5.00 a week.
The first few weeks were BRUTAL!
I convinced myself with every withdrawal that I needed that $5.00 and that I would close the account the following week.
As the weeks went by, I noticed the missing funds less and less.
Before you knew it, I’d totally forgotten about the automatic withdrawals.
In 2020 during the height of stay-at-home orders, I was pregnant and feeling nostalgic. I checked an old email account to look for baby photos of my teenager.
I logged into a vintage email account and saw a monthly e-Statement from a bank. I thought that it was SPAM because I didn’t recall having a bank account there. Within moments I gasped. There I sat in my dressing room surrounded by luxury designer purses and clothes, remarried, in a new home, with a rental property, canceling multiple European visits because of stay-at-home orders, drinking a (decaf) cappuccino from a Tiffany & Co. mug, and I instantly remembered the moment when I cried. All of those years ago, I cried, thinking about just how hard it would be for me to manage financially without an extra $5.00 a week.
Mes amies, I checked the bank account, and I teared up.
In an account that I had forgotten about, there was $3,380.
That may not seem like much money to some, (especially now that mes amies are accustomed to witnessing me buying purses double that amount) but a forgotten savings account that I once struggled to maintain was humbling.
The thoughts of the terrified newly divorced single mother of a special needs child sat and rejoiced.
Without further adieu, here are my top trois savings tips:
1. Save any and everything.
If you are gifted money for a birthday or graduation, take a small portion and put that in savings.
2. Be realistic.
Convincing yourself or others that you’re going to save a substantial amount of money in a short period of time can cause you to become discouraged if you don’t meet your mark. Setting unrealistic savings goals can also cause additional financial strain. When funds are limited, you must save small amounts to ensure that you are not constantly “borrowing” from your savings. There will come a time when you don’t replenish what you’ve borrowed thus, you’re no longer saving.
3. You can’t miss what you never had; Auto-deductions.
I will admit that auto-deductions are the only reason I saved when I thought I couldn’t. If I had to physically go to a bank and deposit funds (now click a button to transfer funds), I wouldn’t have. I would have justified why I needed that money in my checking accounts. Open a bank account separate from your primary institution and schedule small reoccurring withdrawals from your primary checking account (into the savings account that you don’t see daily.)
4. Round it up!
Inquire with your banking institutions about “rounding up.” One of my banks offers this service for checking accounts. Whenever you use your debit card, your bank will round up to the nearest dollar and place those funds into your savings account. I rarely use debit cards, but the last time I check, I had about $98.00 in a random savings account.
4. Start maintenant!
There is never a good time to start saving when you think you can’t afford to do so. But I can assure you, mes amies, start now because before you know it, you won’t even remember that the money is being deducted.
Et voila mes amies, I hope this post serves as a sign to start or increase your savings. For my more advanced savers, if you’re interested in the savings tips that I use now, comment below.
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Ciao for now 💋