Tiffany “The Budgetnista” Aliche is a personal financial educator that got her start at the age of 11 after a lesson in budgeting from her father.
That lesson taught her that “there is no such thing as a small financial choice”. The financial decisions that we make in the present, no matter how small, have the potential to impact our future financial standing in a big way.
Unfortunately, most people, especially people of color, don’t learn about finances at an early age and, as a result, end up making devastating financial mistakes.
It is estimated that 80% of Americans are in debt. That means that if you’re reading this article, it is very likely that you are facing a financial hurdle or two or three.
Expenses and debts can make financial security seem impossible, but creating healthy financial habits, like saving, will help you to achieve your financial goals.
Don’t Budge When It Comes to Your Budget
Plan to succeed or plan to fail. In the case of saving money when funds are tight, a budget is your plan. Once you’ve established a monthly budget, DON’T BUDGE!
Buying a fifteen dollar pair of shoes or dining out may not seem like a big deal, but if your budget doesn’t allow for it, a small purchase can completely derail your progress.
It can be very difficult to stick to a budget, especially when you are not used to having one. It takes willpower, discipline, and most importantly foresight.
When you’re tempted to deviate from the plan, remember that saving is all about your financial future.
That extra fifteen dollars a month that you want to spend on a cheap pair of shoes that will start to lean after the second wear will be $180 in a year and $900 in five years if you don’t budge when it comes to your budget.
Out of Sight, out of Mind
It is much easier to save money if you do not have direct access to it.
After establishing your monthly budget, determine how much of your income you can afford to put into your savings.
Have that money directly deposited into your savings account each pay period. The money in your savings should be considered strictly off-limits! Remember, don’t budge when it comes to your budget.
Doing this may be difficult because saving and checking accounts can be linked, allowing easy money transfers between the two.
If creating a mental barrier between you and your savings account isn’t enough, open a savings account at another bank.
No checking account, no checks, no debit card. Just a savings account. This will make it more difficult to access your money and deter you from touching your savings unnecessarily.
Saving with a Purpose
Saving money is one thing, but what are you saving for?
Do you want to pay off your student loans?
Do you want to buy a house?
Go on a vacation?
It is important to know exactly what you are saving for.
Setting a purpose for saving makes it easier to stick to your monthly budget and resist the temptation of the instant gratification we feel when fulfilling our present desires.
Saving requires constant sacrifice. Eating in when you want to go out, wearing something in your closet instead of buying a new outfit for an event, treating yourself to a walk in the park instead of a pricey massage.
These sacrifices will seem less like sacrifices and more like steps toward your dreams and goals when you know what you are sacrificing for.
Be Financially Savvy
We established earlier that most of us have never learned about financial wellness.
Although this lack of education is a travesty and elucidates an essential flaw in our education system, we are adults now and willful ignorance is not an excuse.
Saving is just one element of financial security. In order to be informed participants in our economy, we need to be financially savvy. Do your research and internalize and implement what you learn.
Tiffany “The Budgetnista” Aliche, mentioned earlier, is a great resource and her website and books are an excellent resource for people, especially black women, looking to learn more about building credit, investing, and achieving financial freedom.
It’s Possible For [Almost] Everyone Save Money on a Tight Budget!
Saving money can seem impossible, but if you follow these tips you’ll be able to see the light at the end of the tunnel.
Got some tips of your own? Share them in the comments section below.