The Mint Grad

Saving for a rainy or sunny day

saving jarsWe all know we’re supposed to save – there is absolutely no downside to having money in the bank – but for a lot of us it’s really hard. Something always seems to come up, doesn’t it? But there are many more reasons to stick to your savings.

Since life is unpredictable, it’s important to work towards building a safety net to protect yourself in case of  job changes, health issues and other unexpected events. The general rule of thumb is that you should keep an equivalent of about six months of living expenses in the bank. Living expenses might include utility bills, monthly rent/mortgage payments, cell phone and data costs, groceries and more. Starting out, your bills are most likely on the lighter side of what they will be, so there’s no better time than the present to start building up your savings.

Just think, if you set a savings goal like putting away $40 every month (that’s about two fewer caramel lattes per week), you can easily accumulate $480 by year end. Also, having a bit of cushion when you need it can spare you the added expense of financing an emergency purchase through a high interest credit card.

So what’s the flip side to emergency savings? Think of it like this: Saving for a rainy day is good for when bad things happen; saving for a sunny day guarantees that good things happen! We suggest starting two separate savings accounts – one for “life happens” and the other for “happy life.” Here are some ways you might use your “happy life” account:

  • Travel abroad
    Most people dream of that post-graduation trip to some exotic or distant location. With airfare and accommodation costs growing, you’ll need a fair amount of money to make that dream a reality. Even if you’re one of the lucky few whose parents will help out, your own savings means more spending money for your adventure.
  • Flexible living
    According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average 25 year old has held 6.3 jobs between the ages of 18-25. Having some money in the bank creates added flexibility to leave a job you don’t love to pursue your dream. For example, maybe you started out in accounting only to realize that your true passion is in graphic arts. Or perhaps, you want to become an entrepreneur and need to fund your basic start-up costs while seeking capital from investors.
  • Make connections
    Your network determines your net worth. Boost your competitive edge by joining industry associations and attending leading national conferences and events. While there’s value in attending free or inexpensive local meet-ups, one of the best ways to grow in your career is through successful, senior professionals who can mentor you. Hotel, registration and travel to conferences can add up, so save up to give your career an edge.
  • Splurge
    Work hard. Save hard. Play hard. There’s no shame in saving up for something you really want. If you don’t waste your money buying bottled water or racking up cab fares (for destinations within comfortable walking distance), you might find you have more money at your expense than you thought.
  • Create peace of mind
    It’s easy to be happy when you have no worries! Avoid living paycheck to paycheck by paying yourself first. Moving a little money each month from your checking to your savings account, or having a portion of your paycheck automatically deposited into your savings, is an easy way to guarantee you have money when you need it.

 


How will you use your “happy life” account?

If you’re doing all of this saving, there’s got to be a reason! Emergency savings aside, how do you plan to use your savings to accomplish a goal? Is there something you’re saving for? Somewhere you aspire to travel? Tell us about your dreams for the future and the challenges you’ve faced along the way. You can send us a quick message (or write us a novel), we promise to read it no matter what!