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A greedy travel fund made me do it! It’s need for green is how I ended up saving over $4000 in 8 months. I have to be careful when I set up a savings account and give it a name and goals.
Truthfully, saving $4000 in 8 months was easier than so many other things! It’s easier than having a baby (not the starting part but I’m told the birthing part is many painful things). It’s easier than learning how to fly a plane, planning a wedding, or being a champion llama shearer.
How to Save $4000? Build a Budget
As with any new endeavor, I started with a plan. The movement of large shipments, from a plane to a truck, requires a plan. A budget was my money plan.
Back when I laced grey hair, I hated budgets. The necrotic tracking of spending didn’t feel right. But I’m stubborn and I kept with it. Eventually the frosty feeling melted into gooey love. Mostly, the part where my money is going where I want versus wonder where it went.
Being frugal is helpful because months of no-spending sprees is impressive as much as its saves, but it doesn’t beat a budget. Or as the brilliance at Teachers Talk Money states, “Being frugal won’t work as a scapegoat for actually knowing where all your money is going each month.”
Activating the Income Fund
Active income is work that entails significant amounts of energy and time, commonly referred to as the 9 to 5.
This income stream is where I get fancy benefits that can save thousands like health, dental, and vision insurance. Plus, other soft benefits like paid professional development, gym access, and keeping me away from Amazon.
A big portion of my $4,000 came from active income which is more predictable than other form of income. Plus, the skills I learn and develop as a park ranger I can use in other areas like passive income.
Don’t Pass the Income
Passive income is easier than active income but has more caveats. Passive income is usually less than my active income and inconsistent.
My favorite type of passive income is when I get paid to do what I already do like walking, grocery shopping, or using credit cards to pay for, well, everything. I’m that weirdo who uses it for less than a dollar, not because I don’t have cash but because I love cashback rewards!
I use many different types of passive income; however, I prefer cashback rewards. To date it has been my biggest and easiest passive income vehicle.
On an average year with credit card churning and rewards, I generate $400 of rewards.
It’s like being rewarded for adulting and everyone deserves that kind of award!
The Best Kind of Surprise
I get surprise income in the form of birthday money, Christmas money, and refunds. Basically, any money that isn’t passive, active, or expected.
Just because it’s a surprise and unexpected that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t have a plan! The stopper to a money leak and opening the facet to “how to save $4000” story included having a plan and destination once unexpected money flowed my way.
Straight into savings!
Planning my travel destination, reminded me why I was putting in this extra effort to say no to shiny things.
Eight months is a significant chunk of time, chances were good that I would hit a rough patch where I wasn’t thrilled about this goal and would prefer to give up and try something easier.
During these dark moments, I remembered why I started this journey to begin with.
The Travel Demands
As of this month, I saved $4,111. What made it easy had nothing to do with a high income. I make less than the average American, as in I have yet to make $30,000 a year. My success is largely due to a strict budget that places my spotty income on autopilot.
When my income filters down through active, passive, and surprise chutes, it gets factored into my budget and then is piloted away before the siren call of shopping coerces it into bad decisions. Now, 8 months later, I have a chunk of cheddar for a post-Corona adventure and a little story about how to save $4000.