There’s just no sexy way to say, “let’s talk about that savings account.” It’s a boring, overdone topic — and yet, here I am putting this yawnfest out there. The nerve, right?
The thing is, setting money aside every week or month for an extended period of time is hard. I’ve tried all the tricks: from moving money to the savings account automatically, to saving my raises, to taking surveys for cash. I’ve also lived with big paychecks and small ones.
No matter how much I make or where I stash the dough, there’s always, always something to spend it on.
The Elusive One-Way Savings Jar
What I need in life is a one-way piggy bank. You can drop the money in, but you can’t get it out — at least without losing a finger or something drastic like that. Shattering piggy into a thousand pieces isn’t severe enough. Nor is getting penalized for cashing out your bank CD early. Trust me, I’ve done both.
Up until recently, the only long-term strategy that’s worked for me is a healthy 401(k) contribution. I made a practice of setting the contribution percentage to at least what my employer would match, and then also a bit higher than my comfort level. And then I’d increase it anytime I got a raise.
While I did save a nice chunk of change that way over the years, that money doesn’t help me one bit today. I can’t use it to pay off debt or buy clothes or even to pay my annual HOA fees. And, now that I’m a self-employed lady, the 401(k) piggy bank is closed. Which put me back to the old habit of spending every dime I make — some on clothes for me and even more on clothes for my horse.
Since I Couldn’t Rig the Piggy Bank
Maybe I could have tried to rig a piggy bank to chew off my fingers, but that’s seems so extreme! Fortunately, I found an easier, more effective way to save. My savings hack and newest personal finance obsession is an app called Rize, and it’s changed the way I manage money.