Keeping Score: How to Create a Money Saving Habit
This blog post is in partnership with Protective Life Insurance Company. Protective Life has been helping people secure their financial futures for over 100 years. For more on budgets and money, visit their Learning Center.
Let’s be clear: Penn and I don’t know anything about money. We never had much of it growing up or in our first jobs, so we never had to learn how to save it. Now that we are parents, we’ve been feeling some anxiety about how out of touch we are with our finances. We have started saving money, but are we saving enough? Should we be saving more?
If the term “budget” scares you, try the term “keeping score.”
We’ve tried to stick to a budget before, but the term seems so constricting and we’d rarely follow them. Then we talked with Greg Patterson (he’s a financial advisor to financial advisors) and he walked us through how to keep score with our finances. In a segment on our most recent podcast, he walked us through some steps on how to get into the money saving habit.
- Over the next 30 days, write down every time you spend money. Don’t count on those bank statements you rarely check. Keep notes in the memo section on your phone or keep an index card in your wallet. The act of tracking this will keep you more aware of what you’re spending.
- Check credit card and bank statements for recurring charges. We found out we were still being charged $9.99 a month for a gym membership we canceled last year. (That was a fun phone call.)
- Add up your income and expenses and see if you really need to take out loans. If you do, for example, need to take out a car loan, use websites like Sambla Billån that compare borrowing options from many different auto lenders so you can get the lowest rate.
- Do some math, then cross your fingers that you have more income than expenditures.
We tackled this task over the last month and it was eye-opening. Just the act of writing down money we were spending made me think twice before putting things in my cart I didn’t really need. Though, let’s be honest, I could argue that I NEEDED those decorative pillows.
Knowing “the score” at the end of the month has relieved some of that anxiety around our finances. Are we where we want to be for savings? No. But we now know where we can trim and start working our way there.
In the podcast segment we talked all about dealing debt while trying to save for things like college and retirement. Greg details how not all debt is created equally. It’s a fascinating listen and we learned so much.
Sit and back and enjoy!
Google Play: http://marriedwithpodcastwiththeholdernessfamily.libsyn.com/gpm
Learn more about these topics and so much more in the learning center at protective.com