The Everygirl 30 Day Challenge: Building Your Savings

In January we partnered with Skillshare to learn new skills we’ve always envied. Now these new talents are well on their way to becoming some of our most impressive assets. You started paving the way toward life-long hobbies, so keep it up! And let us know what you’re learning.

This month we are focusing on an important aspect of your future: finances. We’re fully aware that financial recognition can be an overwhelming task to conquer, but reallocating funds for something like a vacation or down payment can be much more manageable if you approach it with a plan.

The first step in meeting any target for a budget is to evaluate current spending. Start by taking a good look at where your money ends up and consider what is realistic to set aside for the things you have planned. No, we mean really look at it—both eyes open and without attempting to justify all those trips to Target for toothpaste (and/or a new sweater, pillow set, Nate Berkus statue, and three tropical candles).

Once you evaluate where you stand, it’s a matter of putting your plans into action.

A few ways to get started:

Set a goal: Plan a specific savings goal for each month, week, or day to stay on track with making your budget come to fruition. If you have a deadline, you’re more likely to stick to it—as opposed to saving without a specific timeline in mind.

Open a savings account: Savings accounts without a particular goal can easily be used as a back-up for overdraft fees. Now that you have an idea of how you want to put this money to use, begin contributing to it regularly. Create recurring deposits—they are an easy way to start saving without doing anything. Some banks will let you set up transfers that can occur on a specific date for whatever amount you choose.

Track spending: Using apps like Mint and LevelMoney are great ways to track your spending (even from your phone). They give helpful snapshots of where your money is going to and Mint even alerts you when you’re approaching a budget cap that you designated (in each category).

Meet with a planner: If you’ve tried all the above before, it could be worth meeting with a planner to talk about what your weaknesses are and how to edit your income so your plans stay in place. They’re knowledgeable and full of advice that can help you start to realize actual financial growth.

A few past articles to help:

7 Financial Resolutions You Should Make in 2016
How to Set Financial Goals that Stick
5 Easy Ways to Save More Money

Saving for fun activities or down payments on important purchases doesn’t have to be an all or nothing game; it’s a matter of consistency, time, and planning. Now that we have an outline for simple ways to get started and maintain savings, it’s time to put the plan into place for things to start building.

Throughout the month we’ll share our savings tips, but let us know how building your piggy bank is going and what advice you have. Make sure to tag your progress updates with #TEG30DayChallenge.

So tell us, what long-term investments are you saving for? What are your best tips for getting started?

  • I can relate to this post so much! I am a 24 yr old professional, but I did not graduate college and I’m not working my ‘dream job’. I am going back to school in January and I have had some pretty big jealousy moments in the last year, seeing everyone I went to high school with starting their careers.

    I’ve had to tell myself to that everyone takes different paths in life. I just happened to take the path less traveled by my peers. I am excited to start learning about my dream career in school, and that keeps me going!

    Stay positive and incredible things will happen!

    • hey margaret-

      just read this as i was posting and wanted to congratulate you on making your own dreams come true 🙂 the other thing — i recently got my master’s, and i’m not using it *at all*. i studied art, but i couldn’t find a job in my field, and so what do you know? sometimes i wish i had taken years off to think about what would be the best path before starting college so young. so, you know, maybe i’m a little jealous of you? all the best on your journey <3

      • Cindy

        I just spent the entire last semester having panic attacks because I realized I left for college without even thinking what I wanted to do with my life. I leave Friday to start my junior year and I have to say that I am really scared but I am just taking that leap of faith. I have no clue about what I want out of my life. But, after reading this article I will no longer feel jealous of people that seem to have it all figured out. I’ll just keep going and see what happens.

        • Kiki

          How fortunate to go to college. Don’t ever regret having a college degree or not working “in field” or in your major! You are a better person as a result of your college years with a totally different set of skills and understandings. You have a broader perspective and a deeper understanding. You are an educated person. Embrace that! It is wonderful. Finding a career path should not be confused with being an educated person. Keep at it. Finding a career is hard work but you will get there!

  • This is a very timely article for me. I’ve been struggling with feelings of jealousy among a particular group of friends I have. Thank you so much for your insight and advice, Jess!

    http://westhawthorneplace.blogspot.com/

  • Ren

    This article is awesome to put things in perspective. Another thing to remember are the words of Public Enemy: “Don’t believe the hype.” When you see people constantly putting pictures of fabulous vacations and bragging about promotions on Facebook, you have to wonder why it is so important to show off. When you are truly happy you don’t have to constantly prove it to others.

  • What a great post…and so perfectly put! I love her quote!!

  • I’m always inspired by articles about bettering yourself on the inside. I think we all struggle with jealousy at one point or another, but I’m definitely experiencing it a lot lately, and it’s so important to recognize where it comes from. In todays world where so many people are able to share their lives (social media, blogs, ect.), it’s easy to become jealous of the people we don’t even know.

    When I’m feeling jealous or hating something that I have or don’t have, I do something to change it- whether it’s big or small! Sometimes curing my jealousy of another woman’s pretty figure can be as easy as going on a 30 minute walk!

  • i absolutely love this post. i need to bookmark it and come back to it whenever that pang of jealously hits. it’s important to focus on our own blessings, congratulate others on their success and all strive to be better in our own best way. thanks so much for sharing this.

  • this can be extremely difficult to deal with, especially when we feel we’ve worked harder or done better, etc, but it is important to remember that we are to love others and we are to celebrate with them and grieve with them too. we all have different paths and it’s important to focus on what we are called to do while esteeming others down their journey. great reminders!

  • Christine Gilbert

    I really love that Everygirl produces posts on real topics that people deal with, and keeps them interesting and inspiring. Thank you for always writing relevant and positive articles.

  • Great post, Jess!

  • Amy

    This is a fantastic post. A year out of college it’s easy to feel like everyone else has life sorted, and then to let that mutate into an ugly green monster when I’m reminded of how up in the air my own life is at the moment. It’s definitely hard to keep things in perspective at times, but at the end of the day everyone has their own successes and struggles! Thanks for another great article, Everygirl.

  • Great post! I was feeling super jealous of everyone’s summer vacation travels since I recently lost my job and won’t be traveling for at least the foreseeable future. So to combat that, I made a “reverse bucket list” and thought back on all the fun things I’ve done and travels I’ve taken already! It was a fun reminder that I already have so much to be thankful for.

  • little & ever

    Jess this is a fantastic post. Beautifully written. And lots of good practical suggestions. Thank you x

  • the legal career girl

    This is a great post. I think that it’s easy to fall into the trap of jealousy, especially these days when you’re able to know everything about everyone else’s life via social media, but it’s important to remain focused on your own life and accomplishments.
    http://www.thelegalcareergirl.wordpress.com

  • Knead To Feed

    I am very conservative with spending, but even still it’s easy to get caught up in little behaviors that add up over time- like rewarding myself with a starbucks on a stressful day, or just popping into Sephora to buy a hairspray during my lunch break- To combat these tendencies (and we all have them!) I started leaving my debit card at home during the week and taking just enough cash with me incase of an emergency. I find that this method really does work and prevents unnecessary spending! Another thing I did was put my mother on my savings account as the administrator- this way, only she can withdraw or transfer money from the account, not me! Its a lot less tempting to rely on when you cannot access your funds yourself!

    • Naomi

      This is such a great idea, going to start doing that!

    • I think I’m going to try this for the rest of the week! I give into temptation too often!

  • Nikki Laraja

    Such a smart post, I’m definitely going to implement some of these tips into my spending habits this month!

    http://www.shopthecoconutroom.com

  • I’m in! I recently got engaged and am planning some other (hopefully) big life changes so we are really watching where our money is going so we can make certain things happen for ourselves – sans the worry of money!

    26 and Not Counting

  • I accept the challenge!

    http://www.imeldawithani.com

  • I’m really reckless if it’s about spending money. I buy what I want and I don’t care about my savings (what savings?!).
    I hope your tips will help me to change my bad habits 🙂

    Marta
    http://little-shrew.blogspot.com

  • Thank you so much for sharing this! I’ve learned in my professional work that so many people are not good about saving. Any amount saved is important, but aim 10-20% and treat it like a line item of your budget.

  • I would definitely recommend Acorns! They round up all of your credit card purchases and then invest the savings for you. I hardly even notice the small deductions from my checking account and I’ve already saved over $250 in a few months! You can sign up here: acorns.com/invite/T26A9Y

    • I love Acorns! I think of that as more of an investment app since it fluctuates with the market but it’s one of my faves!

  • Allyson Schofield

    The Digit Savings App is awesome! It’s free and it monitors your spending, figures out what you can afford to save, and then saves those small amounts for you. You can also communicate to Digit via text and tell it to save more, save less, or give you balances of your accounts. You can learn more about it here: https://digit.co/r/ZJRgq?wn

  • Zoë Elizabeth Blogg.

    I needed this post.

    Since finishing uni and my start-up failing i have been in debt and trying to avoid looking at it!

    I finally sat down, set myself a sensible goal with realistic budgets and i can now say i honestly have a date to look forward too financially.

    Thanks a bunch Jessica.

  • E J Fitzpatrick

    Love this post as it is something i have decided to really focus on this year. I have implemented a 60-30-10 rule with my paychecks. Twice a month I have dedicated time, it’s on my calendar(s), to sit down and allocate my pay check according to the rule. 60% of the pay check to cover regular bills/spending, 30% towards debt/tuition (student loan/credit card/current MBA tuition), and 10% towards my savings account. Anything that is left over in my checking account at the end of the month gets put into my savings account. While i have only been trying this out for a few weeks, i have discovered that by being more aware, there does seem to be a little extra in my checking account at the end of each couple of weeks that can be rolled over towards my larger savings goals.

  • Bee Kaye Bee

    Great motivational article! To cut down on my impulse buying, I unsubscribed from the mailing lists of my favorite retail therapy stores. I realized that when I would receive an email about “new to sale” or “deep discounted” items, I would click on the email, begin browsing, and the rest was history. Ultimately, I still need to have self control but this has helped a lot. I also scheduled a meeting with a financial planner this upcoming Saturday so, I feel like I’m back on track!

  • hheh

    This is the biggest struggle in my life right now.

    I’m 26 years old. Two degrees – one University and one college. Currently studying for law school. Between rent, student loan debt, groceries, etc. I’m finding it hard to stay afloat.

    I like the idea below about leaving credit cards and debit cards at home.

    I’ve cut out my Starbucks habit for the most part. I don’t think I can cut out much else though.

    Woe is me.