So this is it- my spending diet is basically over. The trip is a mere two weeks away. My ultimate goal back in January was to have raised $20,000 by this point. After months of frugality and nail biting, the grand total is:
(This total is assuming I sell my car for exactly what I owed on it- so the actual grand total will *hopefully* be a little higher).
Now keep in mind that I started in September 2008 with literally zero dollars and a credit card balance. I can attribute my success in savings to three main things:
- Being fortunate enough to be able to live at home rent-free.
- Taking about 60% of each paycheck and putting it directly into my savings account.
- Cutting back severely on all those small things like buying clothes and books, eating out, drinking etc.
Of course I did have some splurges, mainly in the area of travel. Over the past two years I’ve taken trips to Iceland, London, San Francisco and New York. If I hadn’t done that I’m sure I could have reached my goal much earlier, but I would probably have gone insane, so it’s a fair trade-off to me.
Overall, hard-core saving wasn’t all that painful a process. I barely missed the money that went into my savings, and I got used to not buying tons of things I didn’t need. I didn’t beat myself up if I overspent one month. I just resolved to do better in the future and pressed on. Watching the money pile up in my savings account was a powerful motivator.
Some strategies worked for me better than others. I fell down on the selling my stuff plan, and ended up giving a lot of things away. However I made up some of that money via the advertisements on this blog. I think you need to be honest with yourself and see what works best for you.
Here’s a review of my money saving journey since January, or how I saved 12K in 8 months:
- January ($10,033)- I’m Going on a Spending Diet!
- February ($11,683.08)- The Biggest Money Sucks for Twenty-Somethings
- March ($12,516.78)- 9 Little Ways to Sock Away Travel Money
- April ($13,871.14)- Operation Clean Sweep
- May ($15,137.79)- Sacrifice, Savings and the Psychology of Delayed Gratification
- June ($17,460)- Adding to Your Pot of Gold
- July ($18,460)- How the Internet Can Save You Money
- August ($19,734.21) How to Be a Smart Splurger
I’m not telling you this to brag, but to point out that this sort of savings IS possible. I know I had an advantage living at home, but I really think that if I could pull this off, most people can. My job was entry-level but not all that high paying. I’m not the best person with money or the most disciplined saver, but a little dedication and prioritization really went a long way.