If you’re following my progress through my progress meters in the sidebar, you may have noticed some changes over the weekend.
Our emergency fund is now over 75% complete! Woo hoo! We’re getting so close! Our Europe fund doesn’t appear to have changed, but it did. I increased our savings goal for Europe to $10,000 since we’re now hoping to take an extended trip.
So how did we make such a sudden jump in our savings? We decided to move the money from our “summer savings” account into our emergency and Europe funds early.
Originally, our plan was to keep the money we’d saved for the summer in its own account until we made it through our no spend summer without needing extra money. Now that it looks like our cash budget will get us through the summer on our tighter budget, I kept looking at that money like it was “free” money. But “free” money is dangerous for me. When I have free money, I start thinking about all the stupid things I can buy with it.
So I went ahead and moved half of it into our emergency fund and half into our Europe fund. It’s still there if we get into trouble later in the summer, but I’ll be a lot more hesitant to pull money from our emergency fund than I would have been with the summer savings account.
Basically, I don’t want to make it easy for us to fail. As long as that safety net was there, the stakes weren’t quite as high for our cash-only budget. But now that I’ve gotten used to a 75% complete emergency fund, I’m going to work extra hard to keep it that way.
Bottom line: the easiest way to save money is to do just that — save it. When money is floating around without a purpose, it’s too tempting to spend it. When you assign it to a specific savings purpose, you’ll be a lot more likely to protect it.
Do you keep extra money in your checking account? If so, I recommend that you move it to a savings account, set a purpose for it, and keep only the money you need to live in your checking account.
I run into that problem sometimes too. I always move the extra into my vacation or Christmas savings accounts. My SmartyPig account will get a boost every once in a while too.