As 2013 approached, I decided it was time for a financial makeover. I was tired of being in a money rut, so I knew it was time to make some serious sacrifices and changes. I was reminded of some old financial advice "a penny saved is a penny earned", or "have 3-6 months of your salary saved in case of emergency"... I though to myself, "how can I afford to put away 3-6 months worth of income with our bills and with the economy as shaky as ever?"
I figured I'll just keep it simple. If I determined to save $1 a day, by the end of the year I would have $365. That's not a bad start! But of course, in order to free up $30-31 dollars a month, something would have to be cut out to make that happen. That's where packing my own lunch came in. On average, we spend $7 dollars per meal, that's an immediate savings of $210 per month. Now don't get me wrong, there are still days when I don't want left overs or cup of Ramen noodles and I splurge with my co-workers on Friday afternoons.
The act of transferring $1 from my checking to my savings encourages me to continue building my emergency fund. It's not a huge sacrifice, rather it shows me that I am actively participating in securing my financial future with a simple task. I've also been able to put a little bit more in savings by enacting some "No Spend Days". These are days that I do not spend a single penny. I know what you're thinking, but it is NOT IMPOSSIBLE. It takes work and dedication and a change in your way of thinking. At first I kept doubting my ability to succeed, but I persevered by reminding myself that in the long run I would have an easier time coming up with a couple of hundred dollars if my car broke down rather than having to come up with it on the fly. It's a great feeling knowing that I'm preparing myself for those "OH NO" moments.