A Savings Plan

Beginning in June, I am putting an aggressive savings plan into action. I’m hoping that between now and December I’ll be able to save $10,000. Assuming rent and tuition will be paid through some other means (hopefully a combination of scholarships and loans), I can use what I save for general spending and traveling. I also plan to find some type of part-time employment while I’m there. So that income can also be added to the general living fund. I’m thinking of this $10K as a useful starting point.

But considering I haven’t had much luck putting together savings for the past few years (I dipped into it once – and I’ve been dipping ever since), creating a solid savings will not be easy for me. My casual approach to money is typically supported by statements like “I deserve to treat myself” and “I’m living for today.” They’re really just justifications for irresponsible and unnecessary spending. So the first step in my savings plan will be to cut out the unnecessary spending.

As a compromise, I’ll set aside a certain amount each month for treats. I’ll need to establish some rules for the “treat fund.” For example, no treat for myself unless I have reached my savings goals for a given two-week period. This will allow for up to two treats per month. If I don’t reach a goal in a two-week period, the treat money goes into the general savings. If I have met my goal, but the treat fund isn’t big enough for the treat I want for myself, I will allow the treat fund to add up. A treat can range from a cupcake to a new pair of jeans. I’m kind of treating myself like a first grader. But I’ve got to meet myself where I am.

In addition to saving, I need to generate some additional income. From where? I’m not sure. If you know of anything, or have any ideas, let me know. Whatever it is, I’m hoping it can make me an extra $400-$500 a month. And ideally it won’t require much energy. Just because I’m trying to come up with a chunk of money, doesn’t mean I’m not still pretty tired most of the time.

In addition to saving and generating additional income, I will sell some of my stuff that I don’t plan to want or need once my long-term residence is established. The stuff I need will come with me to Amsterdam. The stuff I want will go into storage. The stuff I can live without will be for sale. Honestly, I’m not sure what stuff that will be. I’ve moved so many times it seems like I should be fully downsized by now. But I know that’s not the case. Once I take a moment to assess the situation, I should have a decent list of things that can add some money to the savings account.

In addition to saving, generating additional income, and selling myself…I mean my stuff, I’m just going to try being frugal for awhile. I’ve never been the extravagant spending type. But I know I can do better. I’ll be cutting coupons, buying generic brands, reducing Netflix to one movie at a time, and taking my lunch to work. I’ll need to be hyper aware of every dollar I’m spending every day. This won’t be easy for me. Holding myself accountable will be the most important part. To support the cause, I set up a Bank of America Portfolio to set goals and track my spending in all categories. It’s the new Facebook, people.

Saving, generating, selling, and trimming. This is what I’ve come up with so far. Hopefully it will eventually add up to an Amsterdam living fund. I figured I may as well track my progress here. So I’ll be updating my Savings (& Loans) page every couple of weeks with what I’ve been able to save so far.

Listen, I’m super insecure about money. So I hope you’re not judging me right now.

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