Towards the end of February, I decided that I had some pretty expensive dreams ahead of me, and it was time to take my savings account ...

#30DaysofMoney from Forbes

     Towards the end of February, I decided that I had some pretty expensive dreams ahead of me, and it was time to take my savings account up a notch. I set a pretty hefty monthly savings goal for myself for the remainder of 2016, and decided that in March I was going to kick it into high gear. Lucky for me, on March 1st Forbes, who I follow on twitter, started a 30 Days of Money challenge.

     The first thing on my list of goals is a new car. I still have the first car I ever bought, a 2004 Cavalier that I purchased in 2010. It hit me a while back that my car is over ten years old now, and I've had it for over five years. When I first bought this car, I set that arbitrary goal to have a new car after 5 years. Of course, that was when I thought it would only take me four years to finish college and get a big girl job. Things change.

     I had been thinking about buying a car for a while a few months ago, and I was close to starting the purchase cycle. However, an opportunity came up for me to look after my sister's car while she will be out of the country for a year. In a few months, it will be kind of like I have a new car. Well, new to me, and much newer than the car that I am currently driving. This gives me a year and some change to continue building up my savings account for a big down payment on a new car. Easy, peasy. But... I have other big expenses coming my way as well.

     Next on the list, a big move. I've never hidden the fact that although I wanted to come back to St. Louis to get myself started, I also want to move elsewhere and experience life in another place. St. Louis is a great city - I mean come on, we have Imo's pizza, toasted ravioli, and gooey butter cake. But is it worth it to stay in a city for the food? Nah, especially now that I've been watching what I eat. Also, people in my field tend to move around pretty frequently.

     When I was younger, I wanted to move to a big city, New York or Chicago. I figured Chicago was closer to home, a little smaller, and a good place to start out, so I set that as my goal. But towards the end of my time in school, when I started actually looking at jobs and trying to see myself living somewhere, I realized I had changed. Although I like being close to a city, I prefer living in a suburban setting. This is possible around Chicago, but I just wasn't feeling it very much anymore. I put the idea of moving on the back burner, and decided to just focus on the "now" and find a job in St. Louis.

     Now, I have a job, and apartment, and a boyfriend in St. Louis. My whole family is here, minus a few out-of-towners. But I have started to feel the pull for something new. Then, about two months ago, Jim went on a business trip to Phoenix and Denver. He mentioned how awesome it was to sit in that Denver office with the mountains right outside of the window. I mentioned how I have only been to Colorado a handful of times, but I absolutely loved it. And we both just kind of said at the same time, "Why don't we move there?"

     Denver will be perfect for me. I can live close to a city and close to tons of outdoor activities that I actually love. Plus - there's no way my parents wouldn't visit me there. However, the cost of living in Denver (and all of Colorado) is much higher than it is here around St. Louis. Renting an apartment is even more expensive than buying a house. So... You guessed it, we're working on saving up for a house.

     Don't freak out just yet. I'm a smart girl. Right now, Jim and I don't live together, so there is no way that I would say, "Let's buy a house together, and that will be the first time that we live together, and everything will be awesome and work out because obviously!" No way. Denver relies on a number of things, and it's on the 2-3 year plan, not immediate.

     First, Jim and I need to move in together in an apartment and not hate each other. This is more difficult than you would think, since we both value our alone time so much. The good news is, this will help both of us save a ton of money. The bills will be cut in half, and we can motivate each other to stop spending on things like going out to eat all the time. The plan is to move in together after both of our leases are up.

     Next up, we both need to get more experience in our fields and find not just a job, but a better job, in the Denver area. This shouldn't be too difficult for either of us. In fact, Jim has already started talking to his boss about transferring to that beautiful Denver office. The problem with where I work, is that the next level up for my career path doesn't allow me to transfer with my current company. At least not to Denver. There is an office in Grand Junction, Colorado that I could transfer to, but that isn't ideal. Honestly, I'm more excited about the prospect of finding a new company, and with one of us having a ~hopefully~ secured job, we should be okay for a while. That is, as long as I build up my savings correctly.

     And last, we're going to need to find a place to live in Denver. Chances are, we will probably start out renting, even though it is more expensive. We'll look for something with a short lease, and start looking for a house right away. We have talked about our must-haves and what we think a realistic budget would be. Not surprising to me, it all matched up. I guess we won't hate each other when we move in together too much after all.

     I have another long term goal in mind as well, which will also require quite a chunk of change, but we're keeping that one a secret for now. :)

     Now that I've written a novel, let's get to the matter at hand. As I said earlier, Forbes came out with this #30DaysofMoney Challenge right in the nick of time. It's mostly written in a way that is geared towards millennials, like myself, but I think it's an approachable challenge for anyone who wants to take a closer look at their money. This challenge was great because it forced me to think about a lot of things that people tend to avoid.

     On day two, we did something that was pretty important for me. We looked at spending trackers. I'm the type of person who hasn't ever set a concrete budget, but with my savings goals, I decided it was necessary. I choose to use GoodBudget. I liked this option because I wanted something where I could set limits for myself instead of just analyzing what I'm spending. I also liked that it was an option that I could opt out of linking to my bank account. I feel much more secure, and I get a closer look at what is actually going on with my money if I'm the one manually entering it. I learned a lot after using GoodBudget for a month. Mainly, that I had no idea how much I normally spent on things that I don't need. Overall, this was the biggest fix for my money situation over this past month.

GoodBudget is a free tool that can help get your budget under control. Try it out!
     Another thing that I loved, which helped me to stop spending unnecessarily were the $10 Tuesdays and Walletless Wednesday. I rarely spend more than $10 on any given weekday, but I have been known to make unnecessary trips to the grocery store. I actually tried to extend Walletless Wednesday through the better part of my week, and decided to just eat the food I had at home. It was there anyway!

     There were also fun quizzes on day four, day seventeen, and day twenty-five that are eye-opening ways to learn more about yourself. By filling out these quizzes, you'll learn what makes you spend, how you value money, and how you value your time. Don't forget: time equals money!

     Another quick and easy thing that I plan on incorporating into my life is the challenge from day 21: Tax Your Weekend Spending. I absolutely loved this because even though I have my spending mostly under control during the week, on the weekend there are so many opportunities for going out with friends, going shopping, or ordering pizza, which had been my Sunday ritual before this challenge... All of these things are good to do in moderation, but they can get out of hand really quickly. One way to keep it in check is by taking half of what you spend every weekend, and putting it into your savings account. Not only are you trying to spend less, but it also helps you save more!

     Now that you've read more than was ever necessary about my financial goals and the fun I had with the Forbes #30DaysofMoney challenge, I challenge you to participate in it too. Sure, it's not the same when they're not surprising you with a new article every day and you're not playing along with everyone else. But - if you want to get your financial life in order, now is the time.


You may also like

1 comment:

  1. So smart to get finances in order. Also one of my most favorite topics lately. =)