Hey everyone! Today I am touching on a subject that I have no real background on – just personal life experiences and a general interest in. I will start out by letting you know that I am kind of a freak when it comes to my money. I check my different savings accounts at least 4-5 times a week if not more. Why do I do this you ask? First, I have had my credit card compromised a few more times than I feel comfortable with so I like to keep an eye on the activity going on in my account. Second, I like to keep myself in check with how much I am spending. Third, I LOVE to see my money grow (event though sometimes it goes down, so do not take this statement as “Kirsten said if I look at my accounts everyday they will grow” – that is not a thing.. I wish!
As a girl in my mid-twenties I think it’s important to spread the word about starting to save young. I have read way too many frightening articles about how people my age have less than $1000 saved for a “rainy day”. Don’t get my wrong, that is a good chunk of money, but it’s not going to last you long if something serious happens… aka that one year I tried to run a half marathon, passed out at mile 11 and ended up in the hospital with dehydration. Who knew ambulance rides are like $500 a second…. anyways, another story for another time.
Let’s think about it this way… if I retire with $1 million dollars in the bank at the age of 60 (yaya I’m a millionaire!) and only take out say 3.5 % of that a year after retiring that means I have $35,000 a year to live on for the next 28 years. That is hoping that I die by 88 and don’t want to pass any money down to my family. Kind of crazy how fast a million dollars goes away right? It’s like one of my favorite memes says “I can comfortably retire today if I die by next Wednesday” haha
We can’t control the markets, or the economy but we can control what we are doing to be proactive about saving. I understand today’s world is filled with a lot of barriers to saving including student loans, cost of living etc. but below are 3 things that you can start doing right now (if you aren’t already) to up your saving game and put you in a better place for the future. Remember… saving is sexy!
1. Invest in your company 401K
If your company offers a 401K plan it is important that you take advantage of this. Even if you can only afford to give a small percentage of your salary each month – everything eventually adds up. Most companies give a certain percentage match at the end of the year which is essentially free money (if you put in $10,000 I will give you an extra $1,000..um OK!). If you are in a place where you can give the maximum match value that your company will provide – do it! Otherwise you are throwing away free money…now that’s crazy!
With a 401K it’s also important to check how long you need to stay at your company until your money is vested. I am lucky that at my current employer my money is automatically vested in my account which means that even if I choose to leave the company that money is still coming with me. Other places (more common) have a 3 year minimum – where if you leave the company before 3 years a certain percentage or all of the money the company has matched for you can be taken away (say what??) – so make sure to do some research and figure out the specifics of your plan. Most companies have a certain amount of years you have to work to become fully vested so they can keep around their good employees – makes sense. You’re awesome and they want you to stick around!
2. Don’t be afraid to check your accounts
I know it can be scary to look at your bank accounts – especially if they are not in a place you want them to be. However, I have found that checking my accounts regularly keeps me accountable for my spending. I am not good at having an actual budget, although this does work for some people, so I use checking my accounts as a way to keep me accountable. It doesn’t need to be everyday like I do, but I would recommend to start looking at them at least once every 2 weeks.
3. Keep track of your saving
One of my favorite things to do is track my savings progress throughout the years. This not only gives me an idea of how much I’m saving each year, but it also gives me a good overview of what I have in each of my accounts. If you want to get fancy you can download a tool like Quicken where you can categorize your spending into buckets. I used to use this and it was actually quite helpful. It allows you to break down your spending into categories such as Rent, Clothing, Vacations, etc. For me my biggest expenses are typically rent, clothes (whoops) and food (I like to treat my self at least one a week). As my life got busier I didn’t have as much time to keep up with this and created myself a basic tracker in excel.
Click the link here -> Savings Tracker for a free excel template you can use to start tracking your money. It’s a simple excel but the first step in being more aware of your money and saving.
I hope you enjoyed this post! If you think of any other topics you would be interested in hearing about let me know!
Thanks for stopping by!