Back in my former days working for a great online high yield savings account, I had the opportunity to help run a national campaign and meet some really wonderful people – all while learning tips of the trade about saving money.
Crazy concept. I know.
One of the people I was so fortunate to meet was the lovely Liz Pulliam Weston and one of her ideas struck me as insane. It was for the people who just spent money without thinking about where it went. Everyone knows how they are spending money… right?!
When I first started ‘banking’ I had a checkbook and every purchase I made was written down. You always had to think before you bought something, because you had to account for it in a register. But now, with debit cards and online banking it’s so much easier to lose a grasp on what you’re spending, as long as you still have money in your account at the end of the day. Tools like Mint.com will help you oversee where your money is going – how much you’re spending in various categories – but unless you’re actually logging in and looking, you’re not learning.
And truth be told, I’ve realized I have no idea where I spent my entire salary last year. Sure, there’s mortgage, taxes, insurance, gas bills, electric bills, trash bills, car payments… but then there should be
some leftover plenty leftover… and I had zero leftover.
So I introduce to you… the Buy-Nothing Month. I’ll give props to Liz by letting you read about it though her newsletter or if extra reading isn’t your thing, you can watch a video about it here. (And yes, if you watch the rest of the PYFChallenge videos, you will find me in one very awesome call to entry video…)
Anyone else looking for a challenge in January? Feel like a kick-start to savings success (whoa that’s cheesy former bank writer Betsy coming back out)? Want an excuse to use up all of the food in your freezer and all of that extra store pile of shampoo? Or do you just want to find out how much extra you really COULD have at the end of the month?
I’m in. I’m sure you’ll all be hearing about it. It’ll be especially interesting since I have one ski trip planned (using Christmas money) and a friend coming into town (outlet malls anyone?). But I’ll be planning on bringing my meals into work, not buying non-necessity items (even at the outlet mall), and will focus on being a budgeting genius. See you later drive through dinner. Adios random new nail polish from Target. Get gone you unnecessary coffee purchase.
Getting a handle on what I need versus what I want sounds like a brilliant idea. Let’s get creative in how I solve problems instead of just spending money to fix something. Then I’d like to say that I’d deposit the extra money at FNBO Direct – the amazing wonderful awesome high yield savings account with a 3.50% APY as my blurb from Ms. Weston states… but sadly… the days of 3.50% are long gone. I’ll just have to settle for a 0.65%. It’s almost the same. Waa waa.