Let me guess: you’re here because the pandemic has made it abundantly clear that a reliable savings account is essential to have? Me too, girl. We have been hit with a huge wave of uncertainty and improbability, where all of the control we thought we had was taken away from us, and a lot of us were ill-prepared to handle the financial repercussions. But not to fear! It is never too late to start getting your economic life in order. The best time to start saving is NOW.
“But I don’t know where to start!” you yell into the void.
Don’t worry my friend, I’m here to help. During the next few minutes, I’m going to walk you through what a money saving chart is, why it’s important, how to begin one, and some awesome resources to help boost those savings. If you’ve already started saving and just want those killer resources, check out Trim, Digit, and Honey later in the article.
What IS a Money Saving Chart?
A money saving chart is exactly what it sounds like: a chart that helps you save money. There are many different forms a money saving chart can take, but the purpose is for it to help keep you accountable on depositing savings to reach a defined goal.
You start by choosing a saving goal, figure out what it will take to get you there, and then create a chart to keep track of your progress. These charts do a few things: keep you accountable, make it fun to save (who doesn’t love checking off a box with a glitter pen), and quickly boost that number in your account.
The great thing about a money saving chart is that there’s no strict format! They are 100% malleable to your aesthetic taste, saving goal, and timeline. You know yourself better than anyone, and that means you know what kind of goal, schedule, and deposit frequency will work for you. All those online personality tests really pay off here.
Want even more money saving chart inspo? Search “Money Saving Chart” on Pinterest to see countless chart ideas, aesthetics, and goal outlines.
But let’s back it up a minute. Why are savings even important to have in the first place?
Savings Are Your Best Friend
Let’s take a trip down memory lane, shall we? It’s 2019: you have a job with the promise of promotion, a steady income, brunch plans every weekend with the girls, a little bit of credit card debt from a bachelorette party a few months ago (but you’ll take care of that soon). Life is pretty darn good. And you know what? You have a gut feeling that next year is going to be even better—2020, here we come!
(Ominous music begins playing)
Apologies for taking us to that dark place, but it’s to remind us that life is unpredictable. A surefire way to protect ourselves from despair during times of uncertainty is to have, you guessed it…SAVINGS!
Money doesn’t fix everything, but it does give us access to options. The option to move out of your parent’s house and into your own apartment. A financial buffer for you to spend the time searching for a new job that brings you joy. The extra money to treat yourself to a take-out brunch and mimosa while you zoom with your girl squad. The ability to pay more than the minimum on your credit card, so debt doesn’t accumulate from that bachelorette party. Splurging on little things that make your heart happy while you shelter at home.
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Having money stashed away in a bank account specifically for savings gives us those options. It gives us stability. It gives us freedom. It gives us peace of mind.
Okay, I’m on board! But where do I begin?
Create Your Chart
I got you. Thinking about achieving a saving goal (especially if it’s a larger number) can be a daunting task. It can feel frightening, exciting, weird, and perfect all at the same time! Just like any other significant task we decide to take on, the best thing to do is break it down into easy, manageable steps:
Set Your Goal
Decide WHAT kind of saving goal you want to tackle. Do you want a $1,000 emergency fund? Eyeing a new desk chair with stellar lumbar support for your work from home setup? Need a fully funded vacation to look forward to for when we can travel again? Is the idea of paying off debt keeping you up at night?
Decide what is most important for you to start saving for ASAP and take some time to visualize the freedom or excitement that achieving your goal will bring you.
Figure out the logistics
You need to decide exactly how much you need to save to reach your goal and by when do you want to have that amount. There are different ways to go about this, such as the 52 Week Money Challenge. It’s an incremental saving plan that carries you through the year (the first week you save $1, the second week you save $2, and so on).
I prefer the bingo method, which allows you to decide which amount you want to save depending on the week. We all have that busy season at work near the holidays, and we need to buy a fancy coffee every morning for a week to make it through, which doesn’t leave us much wiggle-room for saving.
Create Your Chart
Now for the fun part: Create your chart! There are plenty of templates online that you can grab, but if you’re a DIY junkie like me, this can be a super fun project to dive into. Get out your stickers and colored paper or pull up your favorite digital design program, and get cracking!
Hold up—that all sounds great, but where am I going to find that extra money to reach my saving goal?
Finding Extra Money to Save
I’ve been there. This pandemic has left a lot of us unemployed or tight on money, and it can feel impossible to find those few extra dollars for your weekly savings deposit. Good news! Modern technology has given us access to apps that do the hard work of finding extra money for us. Enter your new best (app) friends:
With our limited energy and headspace being devoted to work, mental health, and what to eat for dinner, we need a way to put our money saving goals on autopilot. Trim helps to do just that! They automate ways to save you money and have saved their users over $1,000,000 in the last month. (Who wants to create a million-dollar saving chart with me?)
One of my favorite features is that they will negotiate your bills FOR YOU to make sure you are getting the best possible rates. Negotiation can feel icky, and thinking about navigating through the endless black hole of automated customer service makes me want to down a whole bottle of wine. Thank you Trim, our wallets (and livers) are extremely grateful.
Who else has tried to Google coupon codes for many online purchases to no avail? Guilty as charged. But our super smart, coupon-cutting friend Honey searches 100x faster and automatically applies the best deal to your cart! You can also receive a notification you when that item you were eyeing has a price drop, so you never miss a sale. And let’s not forget that Honey makes price comparisons, so you never pay more than you have to.
Digit is the way to go if you need a tough-love app that saves your money for you. It takes into account your spending patterns and income and periodically deposits a few dollars into your savings before you can spend it on that reversible plush blanket you saw on a “things you didn’t know you needed off of Amazon” TikTok.
Digit strives to make saving money as passive as possible, and you can always adjust the bot to save more or less depending on how aggressive you want to be with your saving goals. They prevent overdraft fees, can automatically pay bills, and all saved money goes into an FDIC-insured account.
Work that Side Hustle
If those fantastic apps don’t do it for you, the good news is that you don’t need an app to help you find those extra dollars to save! There’s plenty of DIY options that don’t involve looking under your couch for spare change. Can you drop your weekly latte purchase? Downgrade your internet or phone plan? Did you just get a birthday check in the mail? These money trims may seem like small potatoes, but over time they add up!
Saving just $10 a week accumulates to over $500 of savings a year. That’s a nice start to an emergency fund. Or, if you already have an established emergency fund, that’s a perfect holiday budget for presents.
Maybe you feel like you looked everywhere and can’t find a single penny to pinch. Then perhaps it’s time to look at some ways to make a little extra money on the side, specifically for hitting those saving goals. You can check out our articles 7 Easy Side Hustles That Can Be Done on the Weekend and 17 Side Hustles That Could Replace Your Job (And How To Get Started) for some ideas.
So now, you know what a money saving chart is, why it’s essential, and how to make one. You even know how to find that extra cash. What are you waiting for?
Get Saving, Girl!
As the saying goes, “The best time to start saving is yesterday.” We can’t change the past, but we do have control over how we proceed into the future, even with how unpredictable it is.
It can be hard to go at a challenge alone, so get other people involved! Send this article to your girl squad and start a money saving challenge with them. A little healthy competition never hurt anyone, right? You can and add a money saving chart check-in to your weekly virtual brunch date. Make it something you love to look at and can’t wait to check off!
Bonus points if you post a pic of your newly-created money saving chart to Insta and tag @missmillmag—this will also boost your accountability now that all your followers have seen your goal!
However, you might be more of a lone wolf who likes to accomplish things independently. Keep yourself excited and motivated by putting your newly created chart in a place where you’ll see it every day. Start journaling about what reaching that saving goal will feel like and the progress you’re making. Have a solo dance party every time you deposit. Pour a glass of wine or eat a decadent piece of chocolate after checking off your weekly box and relish in your achievement.
Reading this article means you’re in the headspace to make money moves, and that makes me so proud! Let’s make saving fun and give our future selves something to look forward to.
Trust me, you’ll be glad you did.