1.17.2018

My 5 Tips for Saving

My 5 Tips for Saving by popular New York lifestyle blogger Covering the Bases

Happy Wednesday! Wanted to share my long form post for the week and it's all about my tips for saving. While we all might have different circumstances, these tips have helped me save a lot over the past years and I hope they can do the same for you!

My 5 Tips for Saving by popular New York lifestyle blogger Covering the Bases
(see original post details where I took these photos from HERE)



5 TIPS FOR SAVING MONEY



Tips For Saving - Set a Goal (and DON'T forget it) 


Setting a goal (no matter the time of year) is the best tip I can share, and it's what helped me get to where I am today! It can be a specific number you want to reach or it can be a long term goal like paying for your children's college or buying a house. For me, I want to buy a house.

About 6 months ago I got hooked on the idea of buying a place in the city mainly because I hate how much I'm "throwing away" each month for rent. I reached out to my advisor and we set a goal by working backwards. I'll need X amount of money in Y amount of time, so how much do I need to save monthly?

Once we set that goal and found our magic number, we went from there. Seeing where I was and where I wanted to be in such a short time did scare me. Then I saw how much I needed to save each month and it scared me even more! But that is the point -- aggressively saving (within your means) isn't supposed to be easy.

Having a tangible goal really helps you stay motivated and on track. I found it's a lot easier than just saving for its own sake. Fast forward to today and I have moved on from the goal of living in the city. It's just too expensive. Now in the mindset of a four bedroom house in the burbs when we leave the city.

Now, I have more time to save but the amount has gone up. But I am still saving at my normal rate because I found it was enough to buy a house in the next five years. Now the challenge is to raise it AGAIN and see how far I can push myself. Maybe we can tack on a Tesla and a kid to that savings goal!


Tips For Saving -  Meet with an Advisor 

I find myself very lucky because I was able to find an amazing finical advisor, Pat, through my sister (who works at Foresters Financial). He is someone that is basically part of our family and more importantly someone I really truly trust.

Pat handles my accounts as well as my family's accounts and has been the biggest factor in my savings journey. He is knowledgeable, trustworthy, is really good at his job and is so very down to earth. He explains everything in layman's terms and is always around for questions. He helps suggest what I should be doing through work in terms of savings/401k/life insurance and even works closely with my CPA so we can find the smartest way to invest money that help with end-of-year deductions.

You can read more about Pat HERE and also grab his contact information if you're looking for someone. He is based in Lexington, KY but does work all over (obviously since I'm in NY, my parents are in Chicago and my sister is in Atlanta). I know it's probably a little weird taking advice on something like this through a fashion blog but I just wanted to share in case you were in need! (He also has noooooo idea I'm writing this haha).

But if my kind words haven't convinced you, I did want to throw in that year after year he finishes top one or two in the entire company! You can see the top people in the company HERE and if you're looking for someone closer to home and you live in Atlanta or Phoenix, I can't recommend these guys enough!

I don't know that it's 100% necessary to have your advisor be in state (just because I've never had one that is) but I do know that it is good to find someone you connect with and trust. So if you are interested in finding someone close to you, feel free to email me and I can ask who my sister suggests and pass along their information!

Of course there are a ton of financial advisors outside of Foresters (just sharing what I know) that you can work with as well as taking advantage of workplace benefits. I know Major League Baseball offers us recommended advisors to chat with -- free of cost -- to help teach and guide us down the right path when it comes to saving. Andrew has used these services and has really come to love them. I would research to see if your office does something similar! It's always a great place to start.


Tips For Saving - Go over your expenses 

When I was seriously considering buying a place in the city, I started to look at what I'm currently spending money on and where I could cut back. I used a tool Bank of America offers on their site under "accounts" called "spending and budgeting" (you can see snapshots of what the tool looks like here).

In this tool I'm able to break it down month to month but also by transaction type so I can see where the money is going. You're also able to recategorize things after the fact. The tool also helps you see your income vs. spending, how much you've spent in that category compared to other months, spending insights and tools for better money management.

You can also set a budget for each category and have it alert you when you're getting close or have gone over. I haven't set this up *quite* yet since my blog is still tied to my personal account but it is on my to-do list. I would definitely look into seeing if your bank has something similar where you can oversee your spending in visual terms like at BofA. It's a huge help!

When I first started using this tool, I was able to see just how much I was spending and it made my jaw drop. Sure, my rent is in there (which makes the total value each month very high), but outside of that, I was spending way more than I wanted to and way more than I thought I was. By using this tool, I was able to go through every category to find ways to cut back.


Tips For Saving - Think about smarter ways to save

After you go through your expenses, start looking at places where you save more and spend less. A good place to start is with monthly subscriptions. For example, I was paying for Netflix when my parents AND Andrew had accounts that they let me share. Cut that right out. Same for Dropbox -- I wasn't even using it and still paying? Nope. Little things like that can make a big difference in the long run!

Another place I was spending a lot -- like WAY more than I thought -- was on dining. I started to think about all the easy ways to avoid this: bring your lunch, eat more leftovers, or find different options like MealPal (think class pass but for lunch). It's easier than you think to see a problem and fix it when it comes to little things like this.

It's also great to see an overall number and have it remind you whenever you're thinking about spending more. Perfect example for me is the number of taxis I take. It's something I'm not going to stop doing but there are better ways to lower the amount I spend on them. Now when I think about needing a taxi my first thought is, "can I walk instead?" Do I have time, have proper shoes, warm clothes? If not I think, "am I able to bike?" Will it be safe, do I have time, will I be warm enough? If those answers are no I ask, "will Uber pool be cheaper than a taxi?"

Just going through a list like that in my mind has been able to save me a lot of money -- everything adds up. Think about what you're spending a few bucks on every day and start to envision how much that is over a year and then brainstorm how you can cut that number down.


Tips For Saving - Live below your means 

Just because you have the money doesn't mean you need to spend it. I say this all the time in my head (but also out loud when I see other people spend money just to spend it). I could be buying plenty of new designer things but why? Why do I need it? Why do I want it? What will it do for me? How often will I even wear it?

There are so many things that come up over the course of a year that are unexpected expenses and imagine if you just spent your last dollar for the month on a new bag that looks just like three others in your closet and now you don't have money to fix your car. You always want to live within your means (meaning never spend more than you make) but beyond that you want to try and live below your means. Thats how you save for your future, for unexpected costs and for other things in-between.

A big help for me is that I normally use my debit card for purchases, bills and expenses. With that, I know exactly how much I have left in my account. Credit cards are great for a ton of reasons but they add up quickly and all of a sudden you've spent more than you have in your accounts and that's a dangerous place to be in. If you're living this way, think about using your debit more until you have a better control on spending. It will really help!

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Whew, that was a long one! If you have other ideas or tips for saving, let me know below. I'd love to hear about what you do to save, what your plans are for this year and also what you were able to take away from my advice/what advice you have!

Talk to you below!!


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