Savings strategies.

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User Info: Kylo Force

Kylo Force
1 month ago#1
You all might recall that over the last several (six or seven-ish) years I've been really working at recovering from pretty difficult financial times between helping support my family, rebuilding my own savings after a few incidents, moving out on my own, and moving to become more financially independent.

The last few years I've found a lot of success combining the 52-week saving challenge (putting away some amount between $1 - $52 each week, inclusive, such that you've saved each of those individual amounts over the course of the calendar year), a couple other savings challegnes, and keeping very detailed spreadsheets of my bills due each month and when they got paid, etc.

While I've never made "a lot" of money in any job that I've had (compared to the cost of living in Seattle, anyway), I've managed to make big strides in reaching financial independence (both in being able to provide for myself and also lessening my family's reliance on me for financial needs.)

The most recent thing I did was create specific savings "categories" for things that I've wanted to buy or do, rather than just looking at the overall "number" in the bank account and thinking "yeah I can probably buy that thing/take that trip." I've added a column to my spreadsheets alongside my savings challenges to help keep track of this. Right now, I've got a column for a trip to LA, and a column for an upgrade from my point and shoot camera to a DSLR.

I realize this is a bit of a personal question, but I'm really curious to know what strategies people have used to help with managing their own savings. I participate in my employer's retirement savings, do these little savings challenges, and keep extremely good track of what my monthly expenses are. I'm open to sharing more specifically some of the stuff that I've done, but I am curious to hear what others do.
"Sa taong walang takot, walang mataas na bakod."
"To those without fear, there is no such thing as a tall fence." - Filipino Proverb

User Info: Kodiologist

Kodiologist
1 month ago#2
Kylo Force posted...
I've got a column for a trip to LA

Interesting. Is there any chance you'd be near Westwood and we could meet?

I've yet to find myself needing or wanting to save up for a purchase. There isn't much I want to buy, and with no lover, no kids, no car, and practically no friends, I have low regular expenses other than rent.

The only saving I do is:

(1) Retirement saving, which currently consists of a stock-focused fund of funds in a Roth IRA, but that has a contribution limit of $5,500 a year, so I'll probably open a new account as I continue to accumulate money at my new, higher salary as a postdoc, and presumably get yet higher salaries in the future. My strategy for choosing how much to save has just been to put as much money away as I feel comfortable giving up, given my checking account balance and my usual expenses.

(2) Saving up for quarterly estimated tax payments. This is really annoying, but I have to do it because UCLA doesn't offer withholding for most of my salary, which is technically a stipend.

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Have you ever stopped to think and forgotten to start again?

User Info: Kylo Force

Kylo Force
1 month ago#3
Westwood would be easy. I always rent a car when I go, and my family and friends are mostly split between the San Fernando Valley and Koreatown, so getting to Westwood should be fairly simple.
"Sa taong walang takot, walang mataas na bakod."
"To those without fear, there is no such thing as a tall fence." - Filipino Proverb

User Info: Kodiologist

Kodiologist
1 month ago#4
Great, let me know and I'll take you to lunch or something.

---
Have you ever stopped to think and forgotten to start again?

User Info: Jacehan

Jacehan
1 month ago#5
I've used Mint.com for about 9 years now to help me budget. I don't use it as much anymore now that money isn't really tight, but it was super helpful when it was.
"To truly live, one must first be born." ~ Evan [aX]
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