How to Save $500 in 3 Months
Saving $500 dollars can be challenging. In college, I always had 3 jobs at any given time and still found myself getting “Below $100” alerts for my checking account with no cushion. When someone asked me if I had a savings account, I wistfully recalled the last $90 I had saved in it when I was 19 and quickly spent it on college expenses. I had no idea where all my money was going.
Five years later and I’m finding myself with a comfortable savings account with my credit union and I couldn’t be happier to have a fund for emergency situations. I know those funds will also grow and turn into a down payment for my first home.
If your financial struggle is anything like mine, here’s what you can do to jump start saving $500 in 3 months.
1. Open a savings account. My entire deposits went straight into my checking account. Big mistake. As it turned out, I had terrible financial discipline.
What I did: Put $5 in a savings account with my credit union. You have to start somewhere! It enabled me to feel like I could keep saving.
What you can do: Open a savings account today!
2. Create a budget plan. Line up all of your monthly expenses, including the average cost spent on gas and groceries.
What I did: Took advantage of my credit union’s budgeting tools and found $200 a month--$100 per paycheck—that I could comfortably save.
What you can do: Get on the budgeting track and start your own system for smart spending.
3. Get rid of one frivolous expense. It’s fun to have the latest technology and monthly subscription treats (hello, Ipsy), but what can you live without?
What I did: Looked at all of my monthly subscriptions and tried the “30-Day Challenge”. If I could live without it for 30 days, I found it wasn’t that important to keep spending money on it. Because of this challenge, I eliminated cable and saved $50 a month.
What you can do: Talk to your s/o, kids, or roommate about what you consider a “guilty pleasure” and see if you can complete the 30-Day Challenge.
4. Set a savings goal. After you save $500, how will you use it? Get together and make a plan for the money you worked hard to save.
What I did: Saving money felt so great that our family kept going and doubled it. We averaged the cost for most large vehicle repairs ($800-$1,000) and decided to dedicate the savings for vehicle emergencies.
What you can do: Split up your savings goals! Talk about how you want to use your savings. Consider investments, like CDs or Holiday Savings accounts, or plan a trip in one year to use with a small portion of what you’ve saved.