Let’s talk about money. Did you just get a little nervous? Does talking about money make you anxious? You are not alone. Discussing finances is not usually something people do freely. Money is actually considered to be a taboo topic, one that is private and something you never openly converse about. However, that is not necessarily a good thing. Sometimes it is good to talk about money rather than keep monetary issues and questions to yourself! How can you learn to manage your money better if you never ask for help? How could you make a savings plan if you don’t know how? I think that money should not be left a secret! So let’s talk.
I have not always been the best “saver”. I like to shop and I like to treat my family (any myself) to anything they may need or want. However, spending money so freely, without any real budget or savings plan, can quickly lead to trouble. After spending money for years in a kind of frivolous manner, I finally realized that I need a better savings plan. I was tired of seeing my bank account holding at a steady number rather than going up with every paycheck. So, a few years ago, I decided that I needed to actually sit down and lay out a savings plan that I could actually manage. I still wanted to be able to buy my family the things they need but I also wanted to put money away each month. I needed help!
The first thing I did was google “ways to save money” and I found a list from Forbes called “Realistic Ways to Save Money” – seemed like my kind of article! I breezed through the list and wrote down the things that I thought I could do.
- Cancel our cable subscription
- Make a grocery list instead of just liberally grabbing things at the store
- Take books out from the library rather than buying them new
- YouTube how to fix things in my home rather than call a repair person
- Call my credit card company and ask them to lower my rate (hey, you might as well ask!)
- Buy generic rather than brand name
- Don’t go on Amazon.com when you are bored (oh man, this one rings true!)
… these were all things that I could handle. But writing down ways to save was one thing but actually putting my plan in motion was another. I needed more help.
While looking for more tips and tricks to help me save money, I discovered a site called Pigly. It was loaded with various kinds of “calculators” that could help you budget, save, invest and make a retirement plan. Now, I am not just talking about basic financial calculators where you enter your income subtract your savings and then you get the left over number that you are supposed to then save. I am talking about detailed calculators that take into consideration real life things.
For example, I was looking at the section on the Pigly site about savings and just in that one section there were 16 different “calculators” to help you reach your savings goals.
Here are a few of my favorites:
- Basic Savings
- Reach Your Goal
- College Education Savings Plan
- Future Value
- Tax-deferred Savings
- Emergency Savings for Kids
While the “Millionaire” calculator told me that it would take 31 years for me to become a millionaire, that was still pretty darn exciting! If I saved money correctly, I could actually be a millionaire one day! But seriously, these calculators were super helpful in giving me a realistic look at the savings “tips and tricks” I had written down would become a reality. (Also, as a side note, I was in love with this site because it didn’t bombard me with ads like other money management websites which seemed to have pop-up after pop-up trying to get me to apply for credit cards, open bank accounts and other nonsense that I was not really interested in….Pigly was a nice “clean” site!).
Now, I’m not going to lie, saving money isn’t always the easiest thing to do. It’s one thing to find some tips, use a few calculators and dream about being a millionaire in 31 years. Like I said before, I am a spender by nature, not really a “saver”. So making a plan and sticking to it requires work. However, now is the time to save. With the uncertainty of the current economy and the job industry as a whole changing, we would all probably feel a little better if we had more money in our savings accounts. CNN recently reported that Americans are actually saving more this year than ever before (the national savings rate is at 13.1%, up from 8% at the beginning of the year!).
So let’s forget about the stigma of money being a taboo topic and start talking about our personal savings plans. Let’s all help each other figure out how to spend less, save more and still live a happy and comfortable life. Don’t be afraid to ask for help managing your money! Talk to your friends, your spouse or just use sites like Pigly to give you a better grasp on your finances. I am happy to say that I have been successful in setting aside money each month and sticking to my plan. It feels good. It’s a feeling I recommend.
This is a collaborative post. All views and text are my own.