First, I have to tell you, that I am not poor. I know a lot of college students don‘t have much so it is a lot more difficult for them to save money. It was difficult for me, too, but not because I didn‘t have the money, that I could save, but because I was spending like crazy.
For the first time in my life, I have a decent amount of money every month. I don‘t have to worry about if I could afford food or a new notebook for uni at the end of the month. I have more than I need. And God knows how grateful I am for it.
I was born and raised in Hungary, in a very small village. If you know anything about Hungary, maybe that the prime minister is a douche (sorry for my language). But there is something, that is even more important for the people in Hungary – Hungary is very poor. The people don‘t have much to eat and you really have to fight to get to the next month alive. This was my childhood anyway.
But I also have to say – just to be fair – that my mother and my grandmother did everything they could so that my sister and I had everything that we wanted and needed. My mother was working so much and my grandma was teaching us, cooking for us and taking care of us. Rest in peace, grandma.
Although, my mom and grandma did everything to fulfill all our wishes, we were not blind. It was clear, that we never had enough money. I saw my mother mentally exhausted and stressed, because of money. Every day. I felt, how hard it is to not have enough money. And I think that was the time, where I decided (mostly subconsciously) that I don‘t want to live like that. I don‘t want to be poor anymore, I want to have enough money every month, maybe a little more than that.
So, ironically enough, I went to college and thought, well, some more years without money, but after that, I can earn big bucks. But I earn a decent amount of money. So I was spending like crazy. For the first time, I felt how it is like to have enough and more. I could buy things, that I wanted, and still have enough for food and rent.
It was very hard to stop that.
But I realised that I had to. I was spending so much money, but I knew, that it will not always be this way. That soon, I will hardly have enough again. So I would have to save now, to have more later.
I am convinced, that you must have a really strong reason, to do this. My motivation is fear. Fear of not having money for food in a couple of months. If you read „The biggest mistake I made in college and how to avoid it“, you maybe know, what I mean.
You have to be motivated by something. And this motivation has to be emotionally strong. You have to link saving money to an emotion. It can be fear, like in my case, it can be joy, if you save money for something, like a new car. But it has to be emotional. If not, you will find yourself saving some money, than, if you need it, just taking it again and spending it.
I am pretty sure, that pain is a better motivation. You would do anything, to avoid pain. So, like in my case, I would do anything, to avoid getting back to a situation, where I don‘t have enough money to pay rent and buy food. This fear is bigger, than the joy of spending that money now. So all you have to do is find this pain point in your life. After that, it is going to be a lot easier.
But this fear is not the only thing I used. I made a challenge out of it. The challenge is called „52 weeks challenge“. Every week, you save a set amount of money. Originally, you save 1 Euro (or dollar) in the first week of the year, 2 Euros/dollars in the second, and so on. At the end you are going to have 1378 Euros/dollars.
I flipped this challenge and started with 52 Euros in the first week, 51 Euros in the second week, and so on. I thought, it is easier to save more, while I am fully motivated at the beginning of this challenge and it produces quicker results, so I have a feeling of accomplishment and once again, I am more motivated to continue.
If you google 52 weeks challenge, you are going to find a lot of websites, that explain how it works. Also, a lot of pictures, that you can print out and fill out. I track my progress in my bullet journal.
How do you save money? Any tips? Please share them in the comment section below!