How to start saving

Original Article Posted On: February 10th, 2014
Article Last Updated On: February 23rd, 2014

The tortoise and the hare

The tortoise and the hare

My first major purchase was my car. It took me close to 4 years to save up the money to buy it. It was a very long 4 years… Savings can be broken down into one phrase, “Slow and steady wins the race”. This is the tortoise route in the story of the tortoise and the hare.

Saving is the first step to feeling secure about your future. One of the first things you end up doing with your savings will be building an emergency fund. An emergency fund is an essential piece of the security puzzle. Otherwise any little thing that pops up will have you going further and further into debt (in sticking with my fairy tale analogies we will call this going further down the rabbit hole).

How To Start Saving:

All the money that you have coming in will break down into two categories: saving and spending. 92.5% of the time the spending side of the equation is much larger. The saving side is almost an afterthought. If I was to ask you to start saving 20% of your income tomorrow what would you say? Most likely it would go something like “that’s impossible” or “there is no way” or my favorite “the only way I’ll be able to save 20% is if I start stripping again”. The main reason it seems so difficult to save is because your lifestyle has caught up to your income. There is nothing leftover to save.

Save 1% of your income and I will make you rich. See details below.

Now what if I was to ask you if you could save 1% of what you’re making tomorrow. Is that possible? The answer is a resounding YES. I have never seen a case where 1% was the straw that broke the camel’s back. It may involve you making some sacrifices (that’s a word that mainstream culture seems to shun), but these are short term sacrifices for long term gains. Now here is the interesting part (feel free to move closer to the screen for emphasis)… What if after one month of saving 1% I asked you to save another 1%.. That’s only 1% over what you’re already used to saving.. That sounds possible as well right???

OF COURSE IT IS…

In hindsight, that previous quote was slightly misleading.

And come month three guess what.. Another 1%… This is what I will call lifestyle deflation.. We are slowly and steadily deflating your life to allow for more to be saved and less to be spent.. The brilliant part of it all is..

YOU WONT EVEN KNOW ITS GONE.. TRUST ME… IT WILL BLOW YOUR FLIPPING MIND

This route is so slow, and so steady… That you won’t even realize it’s missing. Within a year you will be saving 12% of what you make. Now this can’t go on forever (trust me I tried to save 142% of what I made and math wouldn’t let me… I’ve always hated math for being greedy like that). At some point you’ll realize that there is nothing left to cut.. This is the point we will refer to as ground zero.. You have cut your lifestyle down to the essentials. The essentials can usually be broken up into:

What are your essentials?

What are your essentials?

  • Shelter
  • Food
  • Water
  • Electricity
  • Heat
  • Transportation

Guess what didn’t make the cut:

  • Eating out
  • Cable
  • Netflix
  • Drinking at your favorite bar
  • Going out to see movies
  • Driving the fancy car

How to Make Saving Simple

Seriously. Call me.

Seriously. Call me.

Another very important tip about saving is to pay yourself first. It’s very difficult to cut back at the end of each month and just hope that you have money left.. It’s much easier to take money out first… And then work like crazy to still make it. In web design this is called automagic… Take the 1% back after your first paycheck. Automagically move it into an account that is a pain in the ass to access. The more the pain in the ass the better the account. I am currently looking into a system where you can hire homing pigeons to fly around for a month carrying money so that you can only access your money monthly (IF ANY INVESTORS ARE INTERESTED IN THIS BRILLIANT IDEA PLEASE LET ME KNOW). That is the level of pain in the ass-ness you’re looking to achieve. Simply moving money from your checking account to your savings account is not good. Go find yourself one of those online bank thingamajiggers and that’ll do just fine.

PROTIP: It’s ridiculously easy to save your raises.. If you don’t ever adjust your lifestyle to them it was like they were never even there.. The same can be said about graduating from college. You’re used to living like a college kid.. Keep it up and adjust your lifestyle slowly.