Last year was not the best year for me as far as saving money. So many things hit that it just became not as important. Or we wiped out what we had every time we saved. We put more than $2,000 into car repairs/tires as well as replaced a water heater. We ended the year in a very tight spot financially. For that reason, I have decided to attack this year and create a money saving plan. I’ve done a bit of a money saving plan before but this year I am kicking it up a notch.
If you got derailed last year or never really had a plan for saving money, consider joining me with a similar plan or even the same! Sometimes knowing someone else is going through the same thing can give you enough accountability to help you through.
4 Steps to a Money Saving Plan
Focus on grocery savings
Last year I started putting into savings the amount of money I saved by shopping sales and coupons. Then things got really tight with lots of small paychecks…and I stopped. I need to go back to doing that. If I learned anything last year it is that life always happens. Whether it’s a flat tire on the the side of a busy highway when you are five hours from home and there is nothing nearby or a water heater blows up the day before your birthday (yes, both happened last year), life doesn’t stop. Your savings can’t stop or else you will never be prepared for those “life happens” moments. When I know that, it makes it easier to stick with spending as little as possible on groceries and saving the difference.
Save the car payment
We paid off Matt’s car loan two years early with a higher than normal tax return. That frees up $68 per month. The plan is to save $50 of that each month in a special savings account to be put towards our next vehicle. The other $18 will be applied to other debts. I know that given the age of my van (our main car) we will probably not be able to save enough to pay cash for a new one before this one is just plain done. So the savings goal is to save a significant down payment to keep any loan we will need very low.
Save $20 per week at minimum
We’ve had a change in paycheck amount. It will only last about a year but it will be about $90 extra per week during that time. It will be just enough to help us get back on track better. Most of the extra will be going towards debt payoff, necessary purchases we keep putting off (my poor husband has been going to work with more duct tape on his boots than rubber), and re-stocking the freezer and pantry. But out of that $90, $20 of it will be getting added to the emergency fund or car repair fund, whichever needs more at the time.
Save most extra money
Sometimes Matt makes bonus at work. Bonus for him is just doing more work in a week than what it needed to break even. Some weeks that’s easy, most weeks that’s not possible. He also sometimes makes storm pay. If there is a large storm that knocks out power, he will have some extra overtime hours. Most of the time we save that extra money. That plan will still be true. Sometimes that savings is more long term like the emergency fund. Sometimes it is set aside for something we have been needing or know we will be needing, like a new washing machine, work boots, or laptop.
Even though the details are specific to my situation, the premise is the same. Put your grocery savings aside, continue “paying” your car payment but to savings not the loan, have a set amount to save each week, and saving any extra money. These four steps can help keep your money saving plan on track and can help you keep your eyes on the prize with workable tasks.
Struggling to save money? Check out these 4 steps to help you set up a money saving plan. Click To Tweet