As the summer comes to an end, so does my 13-Week Summer Saving Plan. If you know me or if you have read my post on deciding to transfer from a school that was completely covered by scholarship to one that not, you know that I had made a really big decision several months ago. This decision made a huge impact on my financial situation. The difference was to be close $5000 a year (from costing -$1200 to about $4000.)
My original plan was basically guaranteeing that I would be earning money simply by going to college, meaning ZERO debt, but I valued my happiness more than the money and decided to do what I would have to do to make things work.
At the start of this summer, I set the goal to save what I could and use a small loan to cover what my life savings did not. I got a babysitting job, working 10-15 hours a week for $12 an hour. I had applied to about 30 jobs in many different fields, but having never had a real job before, I did not get one. I did not really like the babysitting job and I knew it still would not give me much extra spending money, but it was what I had so I pushed through.
Two weeks into summer, I got a message from a lady asking if I was still able to work as a nanny for her family. They needed me for 40+ hours a week ASAP. I met with them and fell in love. The hours, pay and work conditions were perfect. The work would be more consistent and I would make the money I need.
Once I knew I had some sort of “job security,” I started setting attainable goals. I wrote up a 13-week plan to save $4000 with weekly goals. I knew how many weeks I would be able to work and roughly how many hours I would be working each week. I set the goals by multiplying the number of hours I expected to work by my hourly wage and then subtracted between 40 and 100, depending on how much I anticipated spending that week, and to give some leeway incase I was cut back a few hours. The more hours I worked, the more I could spend, so I always jumped at extra hours or occasionally babysitting opportunities for other families.
I altered my weekly goals at the beginning of each week once I had my schedule so that they would be truly attainable, still keep me on track to reach my ultimate goal, and give me money to spend on regular/expected expenses and small unexpected expenses.
I set up each week like so:
I coordinated my calendar to have each week number clearly marked so that I could stay on track with my schedule. I wrote down every single cent that I spent but did not include most random incomes (gifts, extra money from my parents, etc.) That way, it gave me even more wiggle room so I will have money that I didn’t record, which is always nice.
In addition to my budget (what I call my savings plan, even though it is not a very specific budget), I have my “Loose Change” and “Under 10” jars.
My Loose Change Jar is exactly what it sounds like; it is any change I find or get back (aside from one coin of each value in my wallet.) The Under 10 Jar is any $1 or $5 bill I have. I am not sure when I will count this money. I do not really have any idea how much is in either of them. I have decided that they will be used for travel and I am considering counting them at the end of this year when I am planning a trip for next summer. These are basically just another fun way to save money if only saving “on paper” is not enough for somebody. (Again, the visual aspect may be nice to see your money adding up, but I do not recommend keeping large sums of cash in your home, as banks are much more secure.)
For anybody trying to save money, here is my advice for you:
- Start small! Make an Under 10 Jar or simply set aside $10 a week
- Be honest with yourself! Record your incomes and expenses accurately and don’t cheat
- Use self-control! Do not give up when you have $50 left to spend for the week but kate spade is having a crazy sale and there is a super cute purse for $90. YOU DON’T NEED IT…Target has (much more affordable) purses, too.
- Know the difference between frugal and cheap! There is a super fine line between the two. Use self control but do not deprive yourself.
- Include giving in your budget! Make sure to give at least a small percent to a charity/organization that is in need. If you absolutely cannot sacrifice any money, donate time. The Lord will reward you!
This summer has honestly been one of the most fun summers that I have had. I worked a ton, but I love my jobs. I have explored and traveled a ton. It was all done by living within my means, as well as boundaries that I have set for myself.
I am super excited to start my Fall Semester Saving Plan. I have started setting goals and writing out my weekly plans.
If anybody else is trying to save money and needs a push in the right direction or somebody to keep you accountable, I AM HERE! Good luck, everybody!
ps: I still have a week left, and I have already reached my goal…plus saved an extra few hundred dollars. 😉
pss: I got $3000 in merit-based financial aid for this year, so I can save these summer savings for a rainy day!