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

Hot Hot Heat

apple picking

Last week I was picking apples and wearing sweaters. This week I’m wearing shorts at a dog park by the water before enjoying an outdoor BBQ. I think the word weird covers it.

fall in Florida

 

The humidity can be a little rough sometimes….but overall I like it! We still have a lot of details to work out, but for now it’s nice to let myself relax into a schedule of sorts. In fact, I even have a bunch of blog posts lined up for the week! Imagine that. 🙂

So, how have you been?

Growth

professional growth: presentations

I can still remember doing anything and everything possible to get out of a presentation in high school. I hated them. Walking up to the front of the room was the worst. I could feel my face turning red with every step. My voice would get caught in my throat, my words would get lost in my head and time seemed to slow down. I didn’t matter that I would practice the presentations over and over; the day of was always horrible.

Then in college I had to take a public speaking class to graduate. I decided to just get the class over with right away first semester, but I was scared out of my mind. We each had to pull together about four different types of presentations throughout the course of the semester and I’m pretty sure the first one was one of the worst things I’ve ever done. Our professor counted and announced the number of times you said “um” or “like” and I was horrified with myself. Have a heart, lady! But you know what? Each presentation got better.

It’s been eight years since that class and now I give presentations for hundreds of families throughout the year for my job. I run training sessions for co-workers and I’ve provided educational workshops for various professionals. In fact, last week alone I gave 4 presentations, each 1 hour long,.. and I liked it. It’s weird how things can change like that, isn’t it?

Over time I’ve learned how to project my voice and I’ve drastically cut down on my filler words (like those pesky “ums”  and “likes”). I’ve learned how to properly transition from one topic to the next and I’ve even started building PowerPoint & Keynote presentations to be used for large events across my office. It’s funny how something I spent so long trying to get out of ended up being one of my strongest professional skills. Growing up is funny like that.

PS-  7 tips to rock a solid speech (and where I found the above photo)