Well, the first of the international student housing checks has rolled in and that has fulfilled the little $1000 emergency fund and allowed me to press onward to summer money savings.
To that end, I’m saving ’til it hurts.
And boy, does it hurt!
What I do is first calculate my bills for that pay period. I calculate my expenses I know I have to incur after that (for example, birthday presents or car repair). Then I look at what is left over and I transfer money to the point where it makes me feel uncomfortable into savings. I know that many people preach pay yourself first, and I sort of do that, too. I have retirement money direct deposited into my account rather than relying on myself to do it. But as a single mama, my expenses often vary, so for savings, I do have to look at second rather than first. So I look at the amount remaining and pinch out of it until I squeal. And you know what? It’s working. I leave myself a pittance for coffee and lunch out, things I cannot seem to do without. But I have to make those dollahs stretch like a yoga beginner!
I realized that if I didn’t feel pinched, I probably wasn’t saving enough. And so I took a good, hard look at just how much I was saving and whether I could afford to do more.
The obvious upshot of this is, duh, I save more money.
But the unintended upshot of this plan is that it makes my situation feel very real to me. I effectively make myself live as though I’m broke (or rather, very close to broke) for the whole pay period after the first couple of days post-paycheck.
Now, I’m not broke. Most of my disposable money went into my online savings account. But it takes several days for that money to transfer back into my checking account. So, effectively, I am without funds to just randomly blow on sushi. It creates in me the mentality that I am broke, and so I act as though I am. I don’t use the credit card and I make any pennies I do have really stretch. It just puts me in a whole ‘nother frame of mind. I pay more attention to where the money goes, because it’s a royal pain to get more of it. I might have Burger King for lunch, but I’m ordering from the dollar menu instead of the already frugal Junior Whopper meal.
And because I have to actively log on and move money, I don’t do so unless I absolutely have to. And sushi, apparently, is not a “have to.” Sad that I have to play psychological warfare with myself. But hey, whatever gets you to save that dollah, right??