2017 has been the biggest year of change for me to date. I quit my job as a lawyer to pursue a career as a full-time blogger AND got married, all within the span of about a month!
Quitting my job had been something I’d thought (more like, dreamed) about for a while. But I’d be lying if I said I carefully planned my exit strategy. As soon as I’d been making enough money from blogging for a few consecutive months to cover all my expenses and live comfortably, I was literally on the next train outta my office (well, I used to walk to work, so I made my exodus on foot)!
I took a leap of faith without a financial security net (crazy, right?!), which has thankfully worked out for me. But, now that I don’t have that steady paycheque deposited into my bank account every other week, it’s even more important to make saving a priority!
So, I’m excited to be working with Scotiabank over the next few months to meet my savings goals for this year and next! I’ve been a long-time customer, and having a joint bank account with my husband at Scotiabank is what helped us save for our wedding. Now I’ll be documenting my savings journey with Scotiabank on my blog and my Instagram account, to show you how I’m going to stay accountable to my goals.
My Personal Savings Goals
In true millennial fashion, till now, I’ve only saved for experiences (buying designer goods IS considered an “experience”, right?) and major life events, instead of slow and steady like my parents did.
More and more studies show that millennials do save, but that we save and spend differently than previous generations. I find it hard to save for retirement – which seems so far away – but I’ve always found a way to save for the big things, like buying my first car, my first home, and getting married.
My husband and I now have two concrete savings goals: our honeymoon and furniture for our next home. We’re going on our honeymoon in January, and will be moving into a new place next April/May.
I’m very excited for all these things, but I know some lifestyle changes are in order!
4 Small Changes You Can Make Now to Help You Save
Since the mindsets and goals of millennials are different, trying to impose the conventional wisdom on us about saving doesn’t work. We need solutions catered to our lifestyles and things we can easily implement into our daily lives.
So, here are 4 small changes I’m making now to help me save more money and reach my savings goals.
1. Re-Evaluating My Budget
It goes without saying that setting a budget is THE most important thing you can do for saving money, and planning your life, in general. Once you set a budget, you know how much disposable income you can allocate to saving. But when life changes happen, you have to revisit your budget to adjust to your new reality.
If you freelance or are self-employed, your budget will look different than someone who is salaried. You’ll have to take into consideration what your expenses are and determine an ‘average’ income. You also have to plan for potential bad months and not overspend when you have good ones. Retirement planning is another consideration since there’s no company pension plan or contribution matching to rely on. Canadian Pension Plan (CPP) and Old Age Security (OAS) will only go so far – you need a solid saving and investment plan in place to make sure you’re set up for the future.
2. Cutting Down on the Avocado Toast and Coffee
According to some sources, millennials can’t afford to buy a home because we spend all our money on avocado toast and specialty coffee.
Guilty as charged.
Okay, I do already own a home, and I don’t spend all my money on avocado toast and coffee, but I spend far more on these things than I should. Going forward, my husband and I plan to eat out for dinner only once a month, and I’m committing to a budget of $14/week for coffee (which is $2 a day), rather than my usual upwards of $30-$35 per week.
3. Taking Public Transportation
Especially since blogging full-time, I’ve been all about that Uber life! As my schedule always changes, and I constantly need to be in different places, it’s just been easier for me that way. But, have you noticed how those charges add up at the end of the month? Taking an Uber can be even more expensive than taking a cab in downtown Toronto!
The cost of a Metropass is now about $150, and I can guarantee that’s much less than what I’m spending on Ubers each month. So, with a little more planning ahead of time, I can save a lot by walking or taking the good ol’ public transit!
4. Automating My Savings and Earn More Interest
When I met with a financial advisor over the weekend, she explained that Scotiabank has a new, digital high interest savings account that is perfect for my short-term savings goals. It’s called the MomentumPLUS Savings Account.
You earn a regular annual interest rate of 0.70%, plus between 0.75% to 0.90% premium interest, depending on the savings period you select (90, 180, 270 or 360 days). You can choose your savings period, and you can allocate different amounts to different savings periods.
Scotiabank is also offering a special introductory rate, which is the highest daily interest rate out of all of the Big Five in Canada! For deposits between now and December 29, 2017, you can earn a bonus interest rate of up to 2.30% on those funds until February 28, 2018. Plus, there are no minimum balances and no monthly fees! As long as you enroll by December 29, 2017 and keep the funds untouched, this bonus rate will continue until February 28, 2018. Um, like where have you been all my life, MomentumPLUS?!
I’ve also decided to automate my savings by having $1,000 transferred into my MomentumPLUS Savings Account every month. Setting it up as an automatic payment keeps me committed to my savings. But at the same time, I have the flexibility to earn interest without feeling like my money is locked up forever, like in other types of savings vehicles.
So there you have it, 4 small changes I’m making now to save more money and reach my savings goals.
I look forward to sharing my savings journey with you guys over the next few months. And trust me, if I, of all people, can make these changes, so can you!
What are some other savings tips you guys have? Let me know in the comments below!
*This post was done in partnership with Scotiabank, but as always, all opinions are my own.