January 18th, 2012
My New Year’s Resolution: Save. Big Time.
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The other day, my husband and I were discussing our finances (Oh, joy!).
In general, we’re pretty financially responsible except for one important component: our savings. Oh sure, we have enough saved to cover a (small) emergency and we always pay off the full balance on our credit cards each month, but we’ve never set a big savings goal before.
At least not until this week, when we both decided to set a high savings goal for this year.* When I say “high,” I mean pretty darn high for a young married couple living in one of the most expensive cities in America.
Truthfully, this goal terrifies me. I know we can do it if we buckle down, but before I could truly believe that, I had to figure out the plan. So I did. Here are the steps we’re taking to reach our savings goal:
- Pay off holiday credit card debt. We didn’t rack up a lot since we didn’t do any traveling. But we did splurge a bit on food and drink when my folks came to stay for a week. Fortunately, I’ve paid off all of our accrued credit card debt and I’m ready to start saving.
- Plan out how to reach the goal. First, I had to figure out how much we would have to save each month in order to reach our goal. Since we want to complete our goal by the end of December and we won’t officially be starting until February, I had to make sure the goal was still feasible.
- Research high-yield savings accounts. The more I researched, the more I realized “high-yield” should be taken with a grain of salt. The national average interest rate on a savings account is currently 0.13%, according to Bankrate. I decided on a few requirements for my online savings account:
- No minimum deposit to open
- No monthly fees
- FDIC insured
- Choose a high-yield savings account. After researching, I came up with two front-runners: Ally Bank and ING Direct. One of my biggest fears when I started my search was that I would become a victim of donkey decision-making and end up forgetting about the goal altogether. So I read through customer reviews on Credit Karma and decided to open an ING Direct Orange Savings Account.
- Cut back on extraneous expenses. I’ll be the first to admit we eat out too much. It’s one of the greatest temptations of living in the city: your backyard is full of unique restaurants and eateries. To cut back on our restaurant-hopping, I’ll be planning meals more efficiently and using my new iPad (Christmas gift!) to store and categorize recipes, thanks to the Epicurious app.
I think New Year’s resolutions are best tackled in tandem, so I’m glad to have my husband along to accomplish this one with me. If you’ve made a big financial goal this year, try finding a friend or family member who can help and encourage you along the way. It may be almost February, but it’s not too late to set a goal for yourself and your finances.
Have a Karmic Day!
Bethy Hardeman, Social Media Maven
*I’ve neglected mentioning the exact amount for privacy purposes. Come on, I’ve gotta retain a shred of secrecy here.
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