Starting a Savings Plan

As the new calender year starts, so does the fiscal year. What better time to start a savings plan than now?

But why should anyone start a savings plan (especially if they’re in debt?) So many people think that savings are not possible while paying off debt, but it is possible and really should be a priority just like every other bill a person has.

  1. Not having a money in savings for emergency is asking to either borrow money or use a credit card (or worse) when something does happen. At some point, you’re going to need some emergency money. It’s called life. And yeah, it sucks, but it happens. So be prepared by saving up some money first for such emergencies. I have a separate checking account that I never use except for emergencies. I could use that money, which is about $1,1oo right now, on my student loans, but then what would happen if I backed into my mailbox and needed to get a new tail light, again?
  2. Having money in savings gives a sense of security. When we having a little money saved up for . . . whatever thing we really want or really need, then we feel safer. And this may be a small amount compared to the rest of the bill, but it’s a start and that helps.
  3. Everyone has goals and savings helps us reach them. I would like to do a couple things this coming year that are going to cost money (not a vacation-like thing, but just other stuff I’ll be elaborating on later). I’d also like start a savings account for my son. So having a savings plans helps me reach these goals.

If we treat our savings plans like another bill, we don’t get overwhelmed by them and we are more like to reach our goals. But where do you start?

Well, google. If you google savings plan or savings plan chart, then click on images, you’ll get about 100 million results to pick from. If you want to save up just a thousand to start out and get some money in the bank in case you need it, there’s a plan for that. If your goal is to save up money for a downpayment on a newer car or house, there’s one for that too. Here are my plans:

This plan is for me and my personal savings for some of my goals for this year. Since I’m paid every two weeks, this one made the most sense to me. The only difference is that I plan on doing it backwards and doubling the amounts. From my first paycheck in January, I’ll save $156, then $150 from the next, and so on. December is a tough month what with the Christmas and the travel and all! So why would I want to worry about my greatest savings in December? And I want to double the amounts because I want to save a certain amount for one of my goals without worry.

 This one is for my son. I choose this one because I liked the layout and thought it would be very manageable for for the amount I would like to save for him. The hardest months are going to be May, June, and July, so I may have to break up the payments into two payments, but these might also be possible because I’ll be back to working fulltime during those months. Even if I need to break up the payments between two paychecks, that’s fine because there’s a goal and I can reach it.

There are literally thousands of plans like this online. You can find them everywhere. Some come as pdf’s you can print off. Some come as spreadsheets you can download and fill out on your computer. Others come as jpeg images like the ones I’m using. It’s up to you. But I do recommend two things:

Pick a plan that makes sense for your life. December and November usually rough because of the holidays, and I know that March is going to be rough for me because my son will be born by then. (Did I mention I’m due February 23?) So is there a particulary month that might be rough for you? Is there a particular week that might rough for some reason? Be aware of that. Plan for that. If two of your kids’ birthdays fall in the same month (like some of my friends) or the same day (like my brother’s twins), be aware of how that month may affect your savings account and maybe put a little extra towards your savings beforehand or plan to do it after that time period.

The last piece of advice I can give you is this: use a different account for your savings plan and not your primary checking, emergency savings, wallet, an envelope, or a jar. If you have easy access to the money you’re trying to save, you will probably spend it. It needs to be like all other bills and go somewhere else when you pay it. I suggest either opening new accounts for your savings or opening a Capital One 360 account. These digtal accounts are great! They’re insured, easy to access, and you can open mulitiple accounts easily. You can manage the money easily as well using their app.

I know this was a long post, but it’s full of good advice for starting this year off financially well.

Have a great Monday!

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Intentions 2016

Today is the last day of 2015, and if your year was anything like mine, it was a little crazy, very exciting, but totally life changing.

To recap my year in a few sentences: I left one career, started another, moved to a new city, got married to my wonderful hubby, and got pregnant with our son shortly after getting married. I rediscovered some things about myself, made some awesome new friends, and recognized that there are a few things I really love and want to focus on. All in all, it was a good year.

But I still want to grow and improve. There are stills goals I want to accomplish, and that is where intentions come in. In yoga, we talk a lot about intentions. Intentions are what we want for our practice, whether it’s a short workout or what we want to accomplish over the course of a long period of time. As the year is ending, I’ve been thinking a lot about my intentions for the next year. As I start this blog, I thought it would be a good idea to write down my intentions for 2016.

But what is the difference between a resolution and an intention?

A resolution is defined as “a firm decision to do or not to do something” while an intention is defined as “a thing intended; an aim or plan.” But an intention in yoga goes a step farther than just something you have a plan to do. The word for intention in yoga is sankalpa. This word is translated as “a vow that has been birthed in the very core of your heart.” It is different than a goal because it comes from a deeper place inside yourself instead of your thinking brain. Typically, a goal comes from a place of feeling, like you need to accomplish something to be happy, but even if you achieve a goal, you may still feel unfulfilled. An intention has more fulfillment in it.

So here are my intentions:

1: Go to the hospital to deliver and leave as a family

I’m due at the end of February/beginning of March, and while my pregnancy has been textbook, I’m not naïve. I know that anything could happen. So I intend to stay calm, hope for the best, and do anything to walk out of the hospital with my husband and son.

I’m sure this sounds like a silly thing to have an intention for, but it’s really not. Delivery is scary. And you’d be shocked about all the things you worry about while pregnant. I’ve started reading “Birthing from Within” and the author remarks that worry is the work of pregnancy; being pregnant will produce worry. In the instances in which the mother- and father-to-be were not worried were the instances of complications. She doesn’t really encourage worry but rather a healthy understanding of what could happen, options, and to still have confidence in your body. I think it’s healthy mindset. And I intend to go to the hospital with my husband and walk out as a family.

2: Lose the baby weight through healthy means

A healthy mom will be a happier mom. I love my body and myself and really intend to return to my pre-baby weight through healthy means. That means working out, eating paleo, breast feeding, and keeping a healthy attitude.

This does not include crash dieting or over working out. This does not include anything that would jeopardize my health or milk supply and, thus, jeopardize my son’s health. Many women really do feel the pressure to be super skinny and see pregnancy as something that will ruin their bodies. The truth is that many women have been told lies about pregnancy and how it will affect their bodies. For example: did you know that it takes a woman up to a year to physically recover from pregnancy, labor, and birth? No? It’s true! So why do so many women beat themselves up for still having some weight on themselves a month after giving birth? It takes time and effort to lose weight, and more time if one just pushed eight pounds of human out of her body. So let’s give ourselves a break and use healthy methods to be healthy instead of unhealthy methods that punish the body.

3: Pay off a large portion of student loan debt

Who doesn’t have student loans these days? I have a lot. Nearly everyone with some semblance of an education has student loans or some kind of debt. According to national statistics, the average amount of student loan debt a person has at graduation is $35,000 (congratulations, class of 2015!). I intend to pay off at least $8000 of my current student loan debt. I plan on doing this through budgeting, frugality, and side hustles. I have this intention because I believe that by taking care of my debt I can do more to contribute to my blossoming little family and relieve myself of some stress.

So far those are my intentions for the coming year. I don’t feel the need to do more or try more right now.

So what are your intentions for 2016? I challenge you to find them. Write them down and how you want to accomplish them. Search yourself and you might be surprised at what you find.

Happy New Year, reader!