Monday, January 27, 2014

Saving by the Numbers


By now you must surely know that I’m entranced with the Internet and the myriad of fun and interesting (not to mention thoroughly disgusting) things that can be found there.  Some people might be inclined to think it has something to do with my age—that I’m just astounded by the technology of it all, but that’s not it.  I mean, don’t get me wrong, I am astounded by the technology of the world wide web, but that’s not what keeps me perusing for the next thing to spark my interest.  No, that’s just because I’m something of a nerd.  (Or a geek, or maybe even a dork.  I’m pretty sure I’ve got some characteristics of all three.)  Anyway, before there was an Internet, I could be found randomly reading encyclopedias or getting lost in card catalogue research.  But I’ll admit that I’d never want to go back.  Google really is spectacular.

Anyway, that’s really not the point; what I want to do is chat for a minute about something that sparked my interest last year—saving money.  Now, if you want to know the truth, I’ve never been much of a saver.  As I inch closer and closer to what should be my retirement age, I have to say that hasn’t served me well (though it’s been fun!), and it’s hard to change a lifetime of habits.  So, last year on the web I ran across a 52 week saving plan designed to let you save about $1300 over the course of a year.  Granted, that’s not a lot of money, but if you’re not saving much of anything, it’s an okay place to start.

The only thing that struck me as a little weird about the plan was that it was set up to increase the saving amount by a dollar each week.  So, the first week of January, you only had to set aside a spare buck, but by the final week in December, you had to come up with an extra $52.  Now, I don’t know about you, but if I have an extra couple hundred dollars in December, it’s probably because I haven’t shopped for everybody’s present yet, or the holiday meal fixings are still sitting in a grocery somewhere.  So, I rummaged around the wonderful web a little bit more, and I found someone who had rearranged the plan so that it wasn’t quite so heavily weighted toward December.  I figured I could make that work, and each quarter I would set up my automatic weekly payments from my checking account over into my savings account.  And, I’m glad to say, it worked; it got me to saving.  Well, most of my extra money goes toward additional principle payments on the house, but I still managed to set aside that thirteen hundred bucks.

So, I figured I could do it again this year, but I decided to tweak the saving amounts just a little bit more.  It’s still a little heavy at the end of the year, so maybe I’ll tweak it even more next year, but this should work for now.  I’ve seen some folks this year who have reversed it, starting with a $52 savings on week one and decreasing by one dollar each week, meaning you only have to come up with a spare ten bucks in December (certainly much more manageable), but I opted not to do that, either.  Mostly, I just scattered the amounts around a bit so that most months end up requiring just a bit over $100 savings.  We’ll see how it feels with this plan. 

The only other thing I’m changing this year is shuffling my cash into a different savings account, so that it’s even further out of sight.  I’d hate to undo all my hard work just by being tempted by seeing my extra cash just sitting around every time I log into my regular account.

Anyway, if you’d like to give it a try, this is the plan I’m following this year.  Use this layout, or tweak it around to meet your own personal circumstances, whatever works for you.  Even if your long-term savings goals are already well-funded, this could just be set aside for your holiday savings account.  Because, really, who couldn’t use an extra thirteen hundred bucks?

52 Week Saving Plan