Are you finally looking to put together your emergency fund? Or perhaps saving for that long-awaited vacation? Maybe you're starting to save for your first and last month’s rent?

Whatever your reason, you'll need a plan for saving your first \$1000.

## Make A Goal

This is what you'll keep in mind when you have to make tough decisions. Write down:

• Your reason for saving (is this long-term saving, like an emergency fund or retirement? Or planned spending like a vacation or down payment on a new car?)

• How much you’d like to have saved

• By what date you want to achieve the goal

## Determine Your Earnings And Spending

Now it’s time to see if your goal is realistic.

### Know how much you earn.

You may have a set salary each month, or your income may fluctuate based on:

• number of hours worked

• tips

If your income fluctuates, calculate your average income over the last several months.

Example:

Jane is a server and made the following amounts over the last three months:

• January: \$1900

• February: \$2350

• March: \$1975

Therefore the average Jane made over the last three months is \$2075 per month.

### Know how much you spend.

Calculate your:

• Fixed expenses:  internet and gas bills, rent, pet expenses, car payments etc.

• Variable expenses: food, shopping, entertainment, household items etc.

Check out this Byte for more on expense tracking!

## Create A Budget

Do you have anything left over after subtracting your expense from your income? If you do, check to see how long it would take you to save \$1000. Is it in line with your goal timeline? If not, you may need to create or tighten your budget.

### Earn more?

If you're already spending very little, consider ways you may be able to earn more per month:

• Look for a higher paying job

• Work more hours at your current job

• Start a side hustle — babysitting, driving for Uber, dog walking, creating handmade items, teaching night school, etc.

• Sell some items you don't use any more

### Spend less?

This means having an intentional plan. You can:

• Switch to buying off-brand items

• Eliminate non-essential spending — spas, dining out, clothes

• Cancel subscriptions you don’t use anymore — apps, games, gym

• Shop grocery flyers and sales

• Switch to free entertainment

• Call service providers for options on reducing bills

Restructure your earning and spending habits in a way that's most valuable to you. Keep in mind why you’re saving up, and why it's a meaningful goal.

Now make a new budget that supports your savings goal!

## Keep Track

Keep track of how much you spend each week. You can:

• Save receipts and write down spending at the end of each day

• Use an appto track spending

• Develop an envelope and cash system — your monthly budget amounts per category in separate envelopes – once the cash is gone, you're out of budget for that month!

Use whatever method works for you.

### Schedule check ins.

Check in with yourself frequently to make sure you’re reaching your savings milestones.

Example:

Joel made a goal to save \$1000 over 6 months. He set milestones to save \$167 each month.

• Month 1 he saved \$172

• Month 2 he saved \$167

• Month 3 he saved \$150

#### Quiz

Is Fred on track to reach his savings goal?