My late nanny, Antoinette, instilled something invaluable in me: save your money for a rainy day. Or as she would say, “Put your money under the mattress!” As a parent, her advice couldn’t be more important or clear. Here are 5 ways this single mom saves her money …
1. Consult a financial adviser (it’s free). I’m admittedly terrible at math and numbers just aren’t my thing. When I made the leap from full-time magazine editor to freelance writer, I suddenly found myself without important employee perks like … a 401K (my future retirement plan!). I contacted my longtime high school pal at Ameriprise Financial. Like sins I confess to a priest, I laid it all out for Roger. This is what I have coming in. This is what I have going out. This is what I have in savings. This is what I have in my 401K that is no longer active. HELP!
Roger was awesome. He rolled over my 401K into an IRA and setup a direct withdrawal contribution from my primary checking. He also suggested I move some savings money around into a higher interest account. I felt like I had regained control again. I love that my IRA contribution comes out without me having to fill out a withdrawal slip (I would forget and never do it + I’ve learned to budget without this money at my disposal).
2. Save for college NOW. Look, I have no clue how much college is going to cost after scholarships and grants are factored in (I had them, so I expect my kid to!), but I don’t want to wake up in 13 years with nothing put away for JD. Will I have $100,000 saved up in that time? No way, but every month I solely contribute to his 529 college plan and something is better than nothing. Roger also set this up for me. P.S. When fam and friends ask what they can get JD for his birthday or as a holiday gift, I always suggest a check made out to this account. I don’t care if it’s ten bucks!
3. Keep a money jar in plain sight. When I had JD five years ago my best friend, Liss, came to the hospital with a ceramic baby bottle filled with flowers. That same bottle is on the kitchen counter and currently heavy with change and cash. I throw change in. My brothers toss a five in. My parents and friends give JD some shiny quarters. JD gets a dollar here and there for doing chores. Every few months JD and I bring his bottle to the bank, toss the coins in the money machine and deposit a nice chunk of change into his savings account. We once deposited $70 in change! When I can, I move this money to a CD in his name.
4. Don’t go nuts on coffee and food—it adds up! I work at a magazine office three days a week. Two days I pack lunch and morning coffee. One day I buy. So instead of spending $30 on fancy salads or wraps, I spend a mere $10. Instead of $9 on coffee, it’s only $3. I consider it a treat!
5. Find FREE fun! JD and I love to get out, but it can be expensive. That doesn’t mean we can’t find free things to do. We are huge fans of hiking, biking, the park, the library and seeing inexpensive plays at local high schools. We saw Beauty and the Beast a few months ago at Wayne Hills with our friends. The kids had a blast and didn’t realize we weren’t on Broadway! I’m always on the hunt for free activities. In fact, all fall long a local greenhouse hosts a free petting zoo. JD loves it!
How do you save?
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