Two Savings Rules to Add to Your Life Right Now

Are you nourishing your savings and retirement accounts the way you need to? It can be overwhelming at first, not knowing where to start and how you're going to reach those primary saving goals. As a finance blogger, get overwhelmed at times reading articles, and I feel like if I started saving for every single item magazines and blogs told me to, that I'd have no money left over to live or have a good time. After much research, I'm here to suggest there are really only two savings rules you really need to follow when it comes to successfully meeting your goals:

1) Just do it

2) Make it personal

Savings Rules – You Just Gotta Do It (a.k.a automate)

Don't beat yourself up if you aren't contributing as much as you need to or can to your savings goals. The important thing to remember is that you are (at least…I hope you are?) saving. If you get down on yourself, you are more likely to overspend and you will have saved less than if you had just set a smaller,  less ambitious goal. (We like these apps that save for us automatically.)

What is the recommended amount to save each month? About 20% of your take-home pay, if you're using the 50-30-20 budgeting strategy. So if you make 2200.00 per month after taxes, that's 440.00 you should put away toward debt repayment AND savings. You should adjust this if you live at home to probably around 40 or 50% since you have no living or “fixed” expenses. Alternately, I live alone in an expensive city, so I am only able to contribute about 17% to my goals. Do I beat myself up about it? No.

Many recommend you put the entire 20% toward debt repayment if you have it, but for young women who have a high burden of student loans, this is just not realistic. If you have high consumer debt, such as a car loan or credit card, try 15% towards paying those off and 5% towards savings. Just save something! You will never know when you need it.

A Real Life Example of Why You Just Need to Start Saving Something for a Rainy Day

I recently had to dip into my “emergency fund” when my boyfriend and I split and I had to move out of the apartment we shared. Expensive and awful, but I am so glad I had that cushion to help me.

Trust me – down the road, you will get so excited by the tiny amount you have saved you'll kick it into high gear. I had a girlfriend who put away 10 dollars per week for four years and went to Italy. The holidays can be a tricky time, and I would much rather you put your savings on pause than rack up debt to finance your Christmas.

Still, saying you saved $25 or $50 will go a long way toward making you feel empowered during an otherwise financial cluster of a season. Seriously, just do it.

savings

When it comes to saving, just do it, bitches.

 

The Most Important Savings Rule – Make it Personal

So, you are saving like a good girl, but you aren't consistent. Maybe want to kick it into high gear. Most people are only successful with savings when they make it PERSONAL. Do one better and make it personal and put a concrete timeline on it. Most savings goals should have a start and an end date, like a race. Be competitive with yourself.

It doesn't matter what your goal may be: a house, a child's college education, a 30,000 dollar wedding. Even smaller goals can be super effective: saving for vacation, a certain jacket, purse, or trying to pay off your Christmas presents in full instead of putting them on your credit card. If you make it personal, your chances for success increase exponentially.

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Trying to save up for a great vacation, a new child, or buying a house? Awesome! Make sure you know these two savings rules to help you save more.

 

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  • Negative To Positive Net Worth
    July 14, 2015 at 6:09 pm

    Hi LBee, I have to agree with your post. The just do it mentality is exactly how I began my journey to financial independence and by making it personal it helped me to increase my savings over time.
    Again Great article, I enjoyed reading it.

    • Lauren Bee
      July 15, 2015 at 9:11 am

      Hey! Thanks so much for taking the time to comment. I’m glad after 3 years the article is getting some time in the sun again, as these rules are still very appropriate 🙂 Glad you are on your way to financial independence as well.

      • Negative To Positive Net Worth
        July 19, 2015 at 6:41 pm

        LOL- didn’t realize the article was that old. These rules will always be appropriate. Personal finance is something that must be taught with each generation. If only their was a way to make it so we would be born with the knowledge.
        I just started listening to a podcast called radical finance (I think) and I came across your interview. Must say I was impressed- keep up the great work!

  • D.S. @ loan consolidation
    December 5, 2012 at 6:55 am

    These are a couple of rules that we should really adhere to. We can only save money if we want to save. And, yes we really have to make some personal goals with deadlines. Saving money need not overwhelm anybody for as long as there is a sense of personal commitment.

  • David @ Ottawa bankruptcy
    December 3, 2012 at 1:17 am

    The two rules that you have suggested as guide for personal savings are valuable points. Yes, you can only begin to save by doing it. No ifs and no buts. We should also monitor our progress constantly. This will definitely help us keep track of everything.

  • Canadianbudgetbinder
    November 28, 2012 at 12:29 am

    Great post Lauren! I always say it’s better to save something than nothing at all. There’s nothing wrong with having a small savings, that’s OK. At least there is one like you mentioned. Sometimes people tell me they have no money to save but then that’s where an evaluation of finances needs to be done. I agree that 20% paying yourself first is a great way to build savings and making it personal is what will lead the way. We don’t worry about what anyone else does but us. We set goals, and we work to reach them. Making it personal is very important and I can’t stress that enough, it’s help us on our way. Mr.CBB 🙂

  • Shannon @ The Heavy Purse
    November 27, 2012 at 7:37 pm

    Great tips. Especially, make saving personal (and having an emergency fund–good for you!! But sorry about the break-up!). It’s so hard to save (whether it’s a small or large amount) when your money doesn’t have a purpose. But when you know what your end goal is with your money – it’s much, much easier to tuck money away and put unneeded items back on the store shelf!

  • Jordann @ My Alternate Life
    November 27, 2012 at 4:16 pm

    This is going to sound bad, but I don’t currently have any savings. I have a small emergency fund that I contribute about 7% of my after tax income to, and I put around 50% of my remaining income towards debt. I don’t have a problem with this strategy because I’m young and have lots of time to save for retirement, and because I like to focus on one goal at a time, and right now that goal is to get out of debt.

    • L Bee
      November 27, 2012 at 4:41 pm

      As a young woman who just had to move unexpectedly–I completely agree. As long as you have SOMETHING to fall back on, I think it’s ok to focus your efforts on your debt repayment.

  • Rod J. Rogers (@FreeAgentRogers)
    November 27, 2012 at 4:36 am

    Andy Traub of the (no longer being done) podcast had a great statement: ‘Nothing will change unless YOU change it.” If you want to pay down debt, save some money, retire early; YOU and only you can take the steps to make that happen.

  • AverageJoe
    November 27, 2012 at 2:20 am

    Crazy! I like Nike’s other phrase: Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway.

    Lots of people are afraid to make changes. What if I need that money? What if it doesn’t work right? Fear is fine…..stagnation sucks!

    • AverageJoe
      November 27, 2012 at 3:46 pm

      Ha! You publicized their brand. Feel free to say Two Guys and Your Money in every post…..

  • Ben
    November 26, 2012 at 9:14 pm

    I like how you’ve simplified the process…Just Do It!! Far too many people think that if they start saving 2% that it isn’t worth it. The best thing someone CAN do is save 2%. Then 3%…then more and more. Eventually the process of just starting will snowball into larger savings percentages just because you can see progress and will start adjusting lifestyle in order to save more.

  • Marco Derdiyok
    November 26, 2012 at 10:21 pm

    Rules to live by simply is great. Makes us think and yes react proactively on the movers and shakers ahead in life and the thing that makes it stand out is judicious planning and utilization of money and your DIY principles are layman-ishly simple and easy for everyone to adopt & yes adhere to.

    Also coming to the instance of finance saving aggregator sites these sure display the best in investments which a person needs to save on savings, insurance, assets etc which is a feasible option in todays Social era.

    Look forward to hear/read more blogs on savings, insurances and financial trends Lauren, Cheers

  • Janine
    November 26, 2012 at 8:23 pm

    Great post! I love the “Just do it” mantra, even if you are starting small it is crazy how fast your money grows!

  • Veronica @ Pelican on Money
    November 26, 2012 at 6:00 pm

    Your advice also applies to pursuing life’s dreams or earning more money too 🙂

  • Jennifer Lynn @ Broke-Ass Mommy
    November 26, 2012 at 5:16 pm

    My advice: Get off your ass and get going. Don’t passively say, I should save more. Instead say, I must save more (then cue: execute. as in, now. not in two minutes. not tomorrow. right the hell now!)

  • Kim@Eyesonthedollar
    November 26, 2012 at 4:20 pm

    Great easy steps. Just start. Even if it’s $5. So many people are always going to save next payday or whenever X gets paid off and never start.

    • L Bee
      November 27, 2012 at 2:20 pm

      Exactly! I hope someone is reading all these awesome comments 🙂

  • Gillian @ Money After Graduation
    November 26, 2012 at 3:52 pm

    Great post ! So motivating. I think I need to compete with myself to get to the next level of debt repayment. I can’t wait for the day when it’s all gone!

    • L Bee
      November 27, 2012 at 2:19 pm

      Thanks Gillian!

  • John S @ Frugal Rules
    November 26, 2012 at 2:53 pm

    Good post! I could not agree more. Following some formula that does not apply to you & your situation will just generally lead to not following through. You have to find what works for you and go after it. The most important thing is to find what works for you, do it and keep doing it. Even if it’s only $10 or $20 a month, that discipline will carry you a long way and will be so more rewarding when you can make it accomplish something you want.

    • L Bee
      November 27, 2012 at 2:19 pm

      I agree–so many posts advocate doing things that just don’t fit with me and my lifestyle. So I stick with my 17% 🙂

  • Budget & the Beach
    November 26, 2012 at 2:43 pm

    It’s been very hard for me lately to save any money, but I have been putting away just very small amounts, and I mean very small. I hope it’s not always going to be this way, but at least it’s a + and not a -. Anything is better than nothing.

    • L Bee
      November 27, 2012 at 2:18 pm

      I wish more people felt this way….

  • Holly@ClubThrifty
    November 26, 2012 at 2:20 pm

    These are all great rules. I totally agree! The most important rule is to start small if that’s all you can do. Something is better than nothing.

    • Pauline
      November 27, 2012 at 2:23 am

      I agree with starting small. If you stretch it too much at the beginning, that is the best way to fall back to square one and lose your motivation.

      • L Bee
        November 27, 2012 at 2:16 pm

        So many people they get bummed they can’t put away more-I don’t think people realize how FEW save nothing at all!

  • Catherine
    November 26, 2012 at 1:41 pm

    I knew you could do it! Whoo for having a post to read 🙂 I suck at saving, we’re working on it now but just getting started. We will only be saving a little now but much more once this debt gets paid off.

    • L Bee
      November 27, 2012 at 2:16 pm

      Just so long as you save something…thanks for motivating me Cat!

  • Jamie Dickinson
    November 26, 2012 at 1:16 pm

    My new motto is more of less Just Do It. I’m fed up of faffing around, I’d rather just get on with it and ‘Get Shit Done’!

    • L Bee
      November 27, 2012 at 2:15 pm

      Hahah. “get shit done” should have be the third rule…:)

  • Whitney
    November 26, 2012 at 12:47 pm

    #2 Make it personal. That has been the biggest motivator with my savings. Before my engagement, I was funneling money into my savings at random times, in random amounts. If someone gifted me money, I may or may not put it into savings. Now that K and I are saving for a wedding, I’ve found the tunnel vision for saving especially helpful. We’ve made a blanket rule: any extra money goes into the separate wedding account: all birthday cash, second job paychecks, income from my grandpa’s estate, etc. This is the first time I’ve really saved for a big goal. It’s also been a great exercise in learning how we manage money _together_, as this is our first venture into joint-checking.

    • L Bee
      November 27, 2012 at 2:14 pm

      What is more personal than a wedding? 🙂 I’m still struggling to find a goal that is really going to kick my butt into savings mode-I’m sure you and K will be great at managing money together 🙂

  • DC @ Young Adult Money
    November 26, 2012 at 12:17 pm

    There is a stock purchase program at my work that I absolutely love. Auto-deducts 10% of my paycheck and you can’t really touch it for 6 months (you could withdraw it but you wouldn’t get the awesome stock purchase incentives). It’s like an auto-savings plan and it’s nice having a decent lump sum deposit every 1/2 year. I would recommend auto-withdrawal from paychecks for anyone who has the option!

    • Savvy Scot
      November 26, 2012 at 9:53 pm

      I have a very similar thing… Absolutely great idea – especially when I get 2 shares free for every 1 I buy on the first £150 a month! 🙂

      • L Bee
        November 27, 2012 at 2:13 pm

        Lucky ducks!

  • Mrs. Pop @ Planting Our Pennies
    November 26, 2012 at 11:57 am

    Be okay with your averages… Our income is lumpy, and with rental property, our expenses can be lumpy too. So some months our savings can be through the roof, but we might hit a month where we had to spend $5K on the duplex, and the paychecks weren’t particularly big and our savings that month was almost nothing. We didn’t beat ourselves up over it, because our average monthly savings rate was still good. We put extra away months that we could, so even though we had a messy month, on average we were still meeting our goals.

    • L Bee
      November 27, 2012 at 2:13 pm

      I hadn’t thought of using averages-I agree, a great tip. Some months bring the unexpected 🙂

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