20 Feb 2018
Are you making good money but living pay check to pay check? You are not alone, MarketWatch stated that approximately 62% of Americans have no emergency savings. Oddly, if 26% of those stated if they were faced with an emergency they would raise the money needed by reducing spending elsewhere.
Why wait for an emergency to build an emergency savings? Start now. You don’t want to be like 16% of Americans and borrow from family or 12% and use a credit card. Be self-sufficient, self-reliant and most importantly, an adult and take care of yourself. It is easy to do when you plan and do it up front and before an emergency happens.
As a firm believer it Dave Ramsey’s Baby Steps for becoming debt free, the first step is $1000 in savings, as a start. To be honest, things are getting so expensive that $1000 doesn’t go far, but you have to start somewhere and that is a start. I highly recommend having at least $2500 in savings for baby step one, but let’s not get a head of ourselves.
$1000 In One Month
So how is it possible to save $1000 in a month? Just as was mentioned earlier, you need to reduce spending in other areas of your lifestyle. Most of us live in an “I want it now” world. Face it we are spoiled. We want what we want when we want it. We don’t want to wait. We spend money as soon as we get it, but we also spend on things we don’t need.
You want a Starbucks coffee every morning, but you don’t need Starbucks. You can brew your own at home.
A standard bag of specialty coffee is around $8 and you can get about 35 to 40 cups out of that. You can even go with a cheaper brand like Folgers or something like that, get a large container which brews 240 cups for around $15. But let’s stick with the specialty coffee for this example.
Going to a specialty store for coffee each morning will cost between $4 and $5 for a cup of coffee vs $8 for a bag for 35 cups of coffee that you make at home. Just making that little change you have put $100 a month into your emergency savings, actually $200 since your spouse is most likely getting coffee out as well.
Now let’s talk about breakfast sandwiches and lunches. Same principle. Most people get a Danish or breakfast sandwich with their coffee, that is an additional $4 (on average). Then there is lunch out, average lunch now days is $8. Every day for five days a week, four week in a month that is $240 just for breakfast and lunch. Bring your own breakfast and lunch to work you just added an additional $240 in your emergency fund.
You have now saved $340 in the first month with three simple changes and I am only talking about one person. Add your spouse to this as he/she is spending the same each morning now you have saved $640 in your emergency fun for the first month.
Let’s keep going. Do you eat out for dinner? Yes, most of us do, we work hard, then we are carting the kids around, it is faster and easier to eat out for dinner most of the time. For a family of four, to grab a quick meal at fast food is around $32. Let’s just say you do that only three nights a week, that is $384. Eat home, even fixing a quick salad and a sandwich will save you huge and won’t take much time to prepare. Put that extra $384 in savings.
Simple Changes Add Up
By making just these few changes in eating habits, in one month you will be able to put approximately $1,224 in an emergency fund.
Let’s recap if you stop:
- $200 a month in specialty coffee each morning
$640 a month in breakfast sandwich and lunch each work day
$384 a month eating out with the family three nights a week
You will save:
$1,224 in an Emergency fund
Just these changes alone will save you $14,688 in one year….WOW! That is winning with money!
It will be an adjustment, but you will be surprised how easy it is to make your coffee and meals at home and take them to work, or each quickly as a family at night, especially when you start to see how quickly your emergency fund and savings adds up.
Give it a honest try for one month. Be honest and faithful about it and put each days savings into a special savings account, one where the family does not touch the month. See how quickly the savings adds up and then start looking at other areas where you can reduce your day to day spending and put those dollars in savings.
Let me know below how it goes.