How I built my savings account

how to start a savings account

I was one of those lucky SOBs who had a job right out of college. I say lucky because even though I worked my butt off for it, you need a little bit of luck in today’s market. I say SOB because whyyyy was I so excited to start working just two days after graduation? (I highly suggest giving yourself a week or so to move and adjust.) While I was super excited to jump  right into my new life, I was also a broke college grad who didn’t have two pennies to rub together. I mean if I had $50 in my bank account on my first day at work I would be surprised.

It’s funny because I used to be a saver. I worked all throughout high school to save for college and I had 2 jobs every year of undergrad. But college life was loud and fun and expensive. Senior year alone I went on spring break with friends, my computer died, and I paid my own utilities… so really my $50 bank account probably shouldn’t have seemed so surprising when I was only making minimum wage.

Luckily my family is extremely loving and supportive so they helped me with the deposit on my apartment and my dad lent me a car so that I could start an adult life, but I’m way too independent of a person to want to use their generosity for too long. So I put myself on a strict saving plan and here’s how it worked:

I opened two checking accounts and a savings account.

  • Checking Account One was for BILLS. This is where my direct deposit was sent. I had no debit card for this account, just checks for bills.
  • Checking Account Two was for GENERAL SPENDING. I was allowed to use it for fun, but it’s also where my grocery money came from so I had to prioritize a little. I got a debit card for this account for easy use.
  • As you can guess, the Savings Account was for SAVING. The rule was the money went in, not out–Emergency use only!

Everyone has a different bill budget and fun budget. For me at the time, I wanted to keep $1000 in my bill account at all times. It was important to me to know that as soon as a bill came in it could go straight out, no questions asked. Since my various utilities and student loans all came in at different times of the month, this was pretty reasonable. When a new check came in and I had extra money in my bill account, I would move some of it into my spending account and a little into my savings account. Once in a blue moon (or during a glorious three-paycheck month) I would be able to save a solid amount of money per month, but for the most part I was throwing in $50 here, $100 there, whatever I knew I wasn’t going to need.

I’m a very visual person, so keeping my spending money away from my bill money really helped me understand the reality of how much money I actually had available to spend each month. At a quick glance I knew if I had enough money to go to the movies and meet friends for dinner or if I had to go grocery shopping first.

So did it work? Well within that first year I was able to go from living paycheck-to paycheck (with no cable, internet, or couch) to an adult with real work clothes, a real couch, premium cable & high-speed internet, plus almost 10% of my annual salary in savings. #winning

 

Unfortunately as my savings grew I got more and more relaxed with my budget, so I wasn’t saving as much over the last 2 years. Then we had to spend a good chunk of that savings when moving down to Florida last fall, but the good news is that Dean and I now get to practice some saving together. Do you have any saving tips for us?

 

PS- Tips for your next job interview.

photo source unknown

A Day in the Life


a-day-in-the-life

I have no idea why I started documenting my day last Wednesday. Maybe I was bored, maybe I was proud of the fact that I made it to work on time, maybe I thought people were tired of seeing my life via photos on snapchat and instagram. But for whatever reason I got to work and wrote down my morning. In the end I decided to post it because I’m nosy and I love reading posts like this. So now the secrets out- daily life can even be boring here in beautiful south Florida.

 

5:30 am- My alarm went off and I obviously snoozed it.

5:50- Another alarm went off so I turned all future alarms off and decided to catch up on social media.

6 am- I have not yet realized the time so instead of getting in the shower I watched this video (an honest look at what it’s like to be a black male) and cried

6:20- Andddd I finally realized that I’m running late so I hopped in the shower and desperately tried to do my hair

a day in the life

7 am- Unhappy with my choices, I ran out of the house coffee-less and a little frantic with my hair looking like a hot mess.

7:10- S**t. I need gas.

7:50- Some how I arrived early to work so I stopped and got coffee…. it was around this time that I opened my car window and got hit with wind that smelled like bad breath. How does that even happen?

8 am- While walking into work I decided that I was going to write this post so I tried taking the above hair photo so I’d have something to show.

a day in the life

8:30- Sitting at my desk, I was pretty proud that I got so much done that morning after starting my day late I decided to post about it on Instagram.

11 am  – Work, work work. Is it lunch time yet?

1 pm- LUNCHHHH!

2 pm- Back at my desk I realized that I just ate 3 tacos, a side of queso & chips, and 2 mini cupcakes. I decided to warn Dean about my decision and made plans to hit the gym for the first time in forever.

3:10 – I ate another cupcake.

5 pm- Work is officially over for the day! I walk to the wrong parking lot (rookie mistake) and eventually make it to my car. Now which podcast to listen to….I decide on Breakfast for Dinner.

a day in the life

6:15- Finally made it home. Even though I told Dean that I’d be getting changed and meeting him right away, I ended up taking pictures for Instagram. In my defense, the lighting was PERFECT and I purchased fresh flowers yesterday.

6:30- Changed for the gym and took more pictures for documentation purposes.

a day in the life

6:50- Also took pictures for snapchat purposes. I feel like my outfit and hair makes me look more prepared for the gym than I actually feel.

7:15- So I’m at the gym and I spotted Dean. He’s with a client but he kind of says hello.. and then puts his fist up for a pound. That was weird and I let him know.

7:17- The cardio machines have TV’s! I love this because I strangely like watching Jeopardy while I run so I decided to stay on for at least a half hour.

7: 37- I regret my decision but I stay on the treadmill because I’m stubborn and Dean keeps looking over.

7:47- And I’m done!.. that was enough time, right? Now what?

7:50- I don’t think I can keep walking around without attracting attention. I decide on an arm workout and make my way over to some machines.

7:55- Why is that guy sitting on a machine talking on the phone? Come on, man! Isn’t it obvious that I decided on an arm workout?!

7:57-… He definitely has no idea I’m waiting for this machine, but I’m just going to get water until he decides to leave.

8:11- My workout is complete and I’m back in my car. I second guess my decision to come to the gym because my arms hurt opening my car door.

a day in the life

 

8:12- I document my feelings via snapchat because I feel like this matters.

8:42- Get home, eat food, feed the dog, shower, pick out clothes for tomorrow.

9:15- How did I get all of that done in a half hour!? I decide to celebrate my successes by falling asleep on the couch while Dean went on a Freaks and Geeks marathon.

 

The rest of my night isn’t clear, but I’m sure I was sleeping in bed by 10:30. I remember when that would be something embarrassing to admit, but now it seems like a positive thing. #OldLady

So now it’s your turn! What does your day look like?

 

 

An Unpacking Playlist

an unpacking playlist #moving
So I’m not going to lie to you, the last few months have been a little hard- really fun, but still kind of hard.  Dean’s been struggling through work changes and training. I’ve been struggling to find and land a job I’m actually excited for. We’re still living with my dad and apartment hunting really stinks. BUT ALL OF THIS CHANGES THIS WEEKEND.

We officially found an apartment last week and we are moving everything in this weekend. We’re packing and filling and buying and laughing and it’s amazing. And it’s even better because I start my brand new job in just over a week! It finally feels like things are coming together and I’m so excited to see what that means for Dean and I, both as a couple and as individuals.  And these songs below? Oh they bring us both soooo much joy. They will forever remind me of open windows, Florida sunshine, and the excitement of unpacking and preparing for our new lives to start….. and they’ll be on repeat for weeks to come.

 



 

PS- Photo from packing up in PA

Life Lessons From Childhood Friends

life lessons from childhood friends

 

 

I believe that a single statement can rock your soul or widen your world view. It’s never when you expect it, but it’s always exactly what you need.  Sometimes something is said in a way that resonates with you. Have you ever felt this?

The first time I had that moment, I was just a kid.  I was sitting in the cafeteria  in 7th grade staring at my first ever B- test grade and I was angry. I was a good student growing up so this score rattled me and at lunch I let my whole table know how I felt. I don’t even remember what I said, but it was probably very middle school, very rude and assuming. Things like “that test was unfair!” or “that teacher definitely did this on purpose” probably came out of my mouth. You know, teen angst and all that.

Finally I was interrupted by my friend, Sam*. She said something like the following:

 

“You might be upset about your score, but I almost failed. If you’re B-is that bad, how do you think you’re making me feel? I was ok with my score until you started saying all of this.”

My world was rocked. I had a bad day AND I just made one my best friends and one of the smartest girls I knew, feel terrible. What a jerk! I was silent and embarassed for the rest of the day.

 

It’s such a silly story, right? Even though it’s so small, I really credit Sam for my current worldview. This lesson has taken on so much meaning in my adult life. Besides knowing when to keep my mouth shut, it also taught me empathy. It taught me awareness. It’s taught me to be grateful and to have more humility. I’ve also learned that people who have what they need, often don’t notice those who don’t. Sometimes people get so stuck on making things work for themselves and getting to the next level that they don’t even notice all those people who are trying to do the same thing. They don’t realize how their actions are affecting others. As a basic rule, none of these things are good. So thanks, Sam, for helping to shape me into a better, more aware human.

 

*Sam (not her real name) and I don’t speak much anymore (because unfortunately childhood friendships fizzle away sometimes), but she’s still an amazing human.  She is supportive and honest and will give you the shirt off her back. She has a quick-wit, was an all-state runner, and she was the girl who would tell you that you had stuff in your teeth before you left lunch. She’s now a lawyer and recently accepted an active duty position with the JAG Corps. She’s doing big things and she’s exacty the kind of person you’d hope to have there. 

 

photo via

15 for 2015.

15 for 2015

 

 

  1. Reach Out: be a better friend.
  2. Be Nice: no more negative talk about others.
  3. Read: more books, less TV.
  4. Get Active: yoga, gym, dog walks, whatever.
  5. Listen: get lost in music.
  6. Discover Confidence: Learn to love my body.
  7. Re-Connect: A week without social media.
  8. Learn: one-on-ones with ms. Rosetta Stone.
  9. Travel: visit a new place.
  10. Save: $10 a week.
  11. Donate: something old for something new.
  12. Say Yes: new life experiences
  13. Give: time to a worthy cause
  14. Nourish Love: more date nights
  15. Enjoy life.