Tuesday, October 2, 2012

We $tarted $aving!

Remember when I mentioned exciting plans for October? Well, one of the exciting things was that I got paid for the very first time yesterday as a full time, salaried position employee (after 9 years of jobs as a part time employee, intern, graduate student, and adjunct, this meant a lot to me).

I knew immediately what priority number one was: a savings account for Brendan and I.

You see, last year, Brendan and I were able to move here without going into debt because of generous help from our families. We flourished for a year with what we called a job and a half by trying our best to live at or under our means (and also thanks to more reasonable housing costs in Midland during the 2011-2012 year).

We lived a quality life last year, but we never had much extra at the end of the month. Since we didn't want to cut out on traveling or doing the things that were fun and important to us, we lived pay period to pay period, knowing that if there were any emergencies, we'd need help from our families, or we'd need a credit card.

Thankfully, there were no such emergencies, and we did fine last year. I should point out that at this time, our joint income was still greater than the joint income in the average American household. Many people manage to live on far less, and I have total respect for them. We would never think of last year as being a "hardship," and that is definitely not the attitude that I want to convey here; however, we did not have a financial "safety net."

So today, we went to the bank. We each set aside 10% of our take home income into a joint savings account and pledged to do the same at the beginning of each month from here on out. The account will not be earning great interest (no surprise), and eventually, we'll need to find a smarter way to invest our money, but for now, the point is this: by setting aside the money and not spending it, we are creating a safety net for ourselves should we need it. We also put an engagement gift into the account (that I have been saving since July) and have promised ourselves that any money we are gifted for our wedding will also go into the savings account, as we can think of no better use for it than helping us to build a smarter financial future.

I have been looking forward to this day for months, maybe even a whole year (yes, you read this right, and yes, I know that says something about my personality), so I thought once we opened the account, we'd celebrate with frozen yogurt. However, I was absolutely dead tired. I celebrated with a mega nap instead (I've been finding that I have less energy at the beginning of the work week lately).

We're very excited though, see exhibit A:

Okay, I made him smile for this picture.

We made a positive step today, and we'll definitely celebrate by toasting with our boxed wine tonight. Because, well, going out to eat tonight would just feel counter-productive.

So there you have it, our savings plan. I highly recommend starting one, whenever one finds that that becomes a possibility. It is a good feeling. Put away whatever you can afford to, and if you can't save now, make concrete plans for when you'd like to start. Once you set a personal goal with yourself, I think it is much easier to follow through.

Happy Saving!
<3 S, B, L&Z

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