Thursday, October 20, 2011

Ask Shia's Advice #1

Dear Shia,

I saw your post where you mentioned you were saving for your wedding and just wondered if you could offer some money saving advice....I don't have a wedding to pay for but I do feel like I live paycheck to paycheck when I know I shouldn't.  How did you start saving up?

Broke-ass in Broke-land



Dear Broke-ass in Broke-land,

Before I start I just want to say a few things....first ~ thanks for being my first advice column; two ~ your incognito name is cracking me up and three ~ I am definitely the girl to your rescue!!

Now ~ down to business.  For me saving money was brought on by the fact that I knew that I was wasting too much money {once I started saving I started to realize that I could pay for my wedding}.  So I can completely relate to what you are feeling.  

Here is how I started.  I have online banking so I logged on and printed out 3 months worth of statements {3 months to get a better view ~ 1 or 2 months might be deceiving...no haircut that month, etc}.  Even though I printed 3 months, I worked each month at a time.  I took a few different colored highlighters...with one color I highlighted my necessities...bills, gas and grocery store visits {this is not the area to start fixing first}, next color ~ eating out and trips to Starbucks; next color ~ shopping trips {ex. Target, Department Stores, Shoe Stores, Salons, etc.} then I added up everything by color.  

Now I knew how much I spent each month on necessities, eating out and shopping.  Like I said before....necessities are pretty much set in stone for the moment however....eating out and shopping can have DRASTIC cuts.  Before you start gasping over one month proceed to the other two...if the amounts are about the same for each of the extra categories...you can see where your problems are.  Eating out and Shopping are EXPENSIVE.  In the beginning, I didn't say...no more eating out or no more shopping.  I just made a budget.  Let's say you spent $400 shopping....cut it in half!  Budget yourself $200.  But here is the tricky part...keeping track.  In the beginning, I kept track old school style in a notebook.  After losing track a few times, I signed up to Mint.com {it is FREE}.  You can link all of your credit cards and bank accounts and you can even make category budgets.  Mint will send you email updates if you are close to exceeding your limit or if you have gone over.  Sometimes, it would throw things in the wrong category so you can just log on and fix it.  

Next open a savings account or dust off that empty one and start putting money in it.  Once you have a budget you know how much you can save each month.  Also make sure your new budget makes room for savings.  If you don't have much money left after necessities than you need to make MAJOR cuts on the other categories.  To help yourself stay on track saving, vow to leave it there once you put it there.  {Emergency only withdraws and a sale on shoes is NOT an emergency...lol}

I know it sounds hard and believe me it feels HORRIBLE when you first start.  I think shopping used to be my hobby and I literally would have these moments when I would think....I have to go shopping but I can't spend money....what am I supposed to do on the weekend then?  But once you start seeing the money accumulate in your savings account you'll start to realize that it is working and the new budget is worth it.  The more you stay on track the more natural it becomes.  I rarely go to Target now because I know if I go to Target for 1 or 2 things I will end up spending $100 on tons of other stuff I don't really need.  Before when I would see the Target charge in my account I wouldn't even be able to tell you what I bought that was how unnecessary the items were.  Less trips to certain stores really helps.  I'll seriously need something and drive right on past because I think....nah it can wait. 

When you do have to shop...have a list and know that what you need is on sale.  Makeup, Haircut, Shoes, Clothes, etc....we all know when stuff is on sale...I get MILLIONS of emails a month from companies telling me about sales...so sign up for the emails.  When you get a great deal...buy two (or more depending on your budget - never exceed the budget for a sale...defeats the purpose) so it will last longer and by the time you need it again it is on sale again. 

Even at the grocery store, Paul and I NEVER buy stuff that is not on sale.  We'll say...hey we need this...well wait to next week because it's not in this week's ad.  {I'm not into couponing ~ I think it just makes you want to buy things you normally wouldn't ... because you have a coupon but maybe it's something you want to try....only use coupons for items you normally buy!!}

The more you save the less you will want to spend.  You can keep cutting your budget on the extra things.  Let's say you met your $200 budget and then you look at where you spent the money...you'll start to think....man I can STILL do better.  I can cut this and this and lower it to $100.  

Before long you'll be thinking about what you can do with all that $$$$ in the bank....great vacation, new car, etc.

Good luck and happy saving!!  If you need encouragement along the way or if you just want to brag about how great you are doing ~ you can always email me!

♥ Shia

Don't forget if you need advice on something ... email me at Ask.Shias.Advice@gmail.com!!!

9 comments:

  1. Love this! You answered her question perfectly!
    And this was very helpful!

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  2. thanks for the advice on saving money! very helpful.

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  3. you are amazing girl
    :D this post is so helpful
    she will sure appreciate everything
    you had to say.

    I heard about Mint.com
    and i am actually checked it out.
    Looks very helpful when it comes
    down to saving money.

    Have a great day love!

    xoxo
    ♥´¨)
    ¸.-´¸.-♥´¨) ¸.-♥¨)
    (¸.-´ (¸.-` ♥♥´¨) ♥.-´¯`-.- ♥
    www.onlyaflightaway.blogspot.com

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  4. Great advice! I'm horrible when it comes to money lol. Hopefully I can improve too.

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  5. Great advice. Saving is definitely something I've been looking into and thinking about a lot lately. How grown-up!

    Sorcha x
    Bonfire Brunette

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  6. what a great post! love the advice idea!

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  7. Great advice. Like so many other things, you just gotta have a plan, buckle down and do it.

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  8. Great post, Shia!

    I am the same, I only use coupons for things that I would normally buy.:D

    ***** Marie *****
    allthingsmarie.com

    ReplyDelete
  9. great post Shia, thanks so much for sharing this!! =)

    http://makeupmajesty.blogspot.com/

    ReplyDelete

Thank you so much for commenting! I really appreciate it!

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