Wednesday, September 5, 2012

September is Savings Month!


This month we are going back to the basics. Remember when we were on our strict Spending Diet? Yeah me neither. Haha. It's definitely been a while. The spending diet worked so well for us when we first started. We were able to go to Europe last summer, but after that we kind of fell off the wagon. We have still been taking out our monthly allowance ($100 each), but we've also gotten a little more lenient when it comes to eating out (and I may have had a few necessary sessions of retail therapy - oops!). Especially with our date nights. We usually try to find a good happy hour, but at the same time, it's worth it to us to spend the extra money to have that special couple time. And we probably will keep that factored into our budget just because we both think it's so important, especially as we get more and more busy with Z's school and my work (and two puppies!).

I read an interesting article this past weekend in Real Simple magazine about how women are naturally less of long term savers than men (Women & Money: Why You Need To Take Control Now). Men think more about saving for retirement and getting set up for the future, whereas women think more short term and goal-oriented. Women are better at finding good deals and saving money in the here and now. For instance, bargain shopping and clipping coupons. We're also good at saving for goals like buying a house or going on vacation, too. The article also talked about how in the past men were the bread winners, earning the money, and women decided how to spend it. It makes sense that women are in that mind set given the past and social norms. Just recently have times changed where there are actually strong women role models for saving and being financially savvy.

The article hit home for me because while I may work in tax accounting, I'm not great at finance. And, I can also identify with the short term and goal-oriented saving. For instance, when we started the spending diet over a year and a half ago, our goal was to travel around Europe. Now, we are kind of in limbo - Z hasn't had a real break in school where we can plan for a vacation (hopefully December???) and we are still a ways away from buying a house. It made it so much easier to stack away the bones when we had something to look forward to.

As for the short term saving, I am always up for a good deal - my new favorite hobby is hitting up Goodwill to find hidden treasures and give them new life. While that may save me a few bucks in the short term, it's not doing me any favors for retirement. My main take away from the article - I should be saving more for the future! At the same time, Z is still in school and it is difficult to build up any good savings - besides my 401(k) (which is probably the easiest way to save!) - when we are constantly having to buy books and supplies and tuition, etc. But at least it's something for now.

On a slightly different note, it seems like retirement, or at least the thought of it, is changing. People are living much longer now - well past the age of 65. How much money do you need to live on for 15, 20 , 25 years after that? A lot! It's kind of crazy when you sit down and add it up. What about living now? Spending your money how you want when you are young. Seeing the world while you can still walk around it without a walker. Doing the things you want to do before it's too late. I'm not saying you shouldn't save at all, but if we are starting to live longer, eventually we are going to have to start working longer (We'll be lucky if we see any social security!). Just something to think about. Mix it up a bit! :)

So, with all that said, we are going to be saving fiends this month! No more eating out (except for the allotted once a week date night), much less Starbucks, and no more impulse buys. We can do it!

What are you saving for these days? Vacation? House? Retirement? Just because? What's the easiest thing you've ever saved for? The hardest? 

Photo found here.

2 comments:

  1. sounds like a good plan! i need to jump on this bandwagon too. i once did an analysis with my financial planner of how much i wanted during retirement and i would have to save $25k a year... starting now... hahahaa. maybe i need to adjust my expectations down a bit.

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  2. Agreeeeed! I'm in this with you too!

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