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In six months, I saved $5,569. As an owner of a 37k salary, it was various ways to leverage the height of that amount. I’m short of my goal, but I’m closer to it than further away from it.
At the beginning of the year, I made a big audacious goal of saving 12k in a year. As I write this, I’ve crested the halfway point.
Now, I’m reflecting with the help of my budget on how to save $5000 in 6 months.
As a goal digger, I love goals. They are how I leverage future dreams with current motivation. Nothing guilts faster than a neglected goal.
I claimed this 12k aggressive goal because I wanted 3k for traveling, 3k for sinking funds (annual bills like insurance, Christmas gifts, and certifications), and 6k for the Roth IRA.
I was going to save for each, in that order just encase I have to tussle with another furlough.
To keep my sanity and start strong, I saved for travel first. I have many places I want to explore and most require a down payment.
Saving for travel puts the fun in funds.
Then, the sinking fund. As with most sentient beings, I don’t like big bills. Nothing drains a paycheck faster than a big insurance bill. As a way to avoid the payday drain, I have a sinking funds savings account.
I pay bills in one payment and since I have cash waiting in a savings fund, it’s easy to pay with my credit card, capture the rewards, and pay off my credit card balance at the end of the month.
It makes adulting easier.
The last goal is to save 6k for the Roth IRA. This is last because I already save with my employer’s TSP (fed version of 401(k)). Since I’m saving aggressively with employer funded retirement, the Roth gets the least priority.
While reviewing my budget and progress, the main savings squeeze was from my ranger paycheck. Of the 5k I saved in 6 months, 80% of that came from the standard 9 to 5.
When opportunities for overtime or holiday pay would rise like the standing sweats at a 4th of July parade, I said yes. It wasn’t a consistent option, but the lack of options made my choice clear.
My hustle muscle is small compared to the wide web of options, but it provided some active and passive income which leveraged 15% of how to save 5k in 6 months.
My biggest active income is UserTesting. The time is minimal, and the opportunities are random. Since my schedule flexes faster than a slinky on an escalator, it suits my lifestyle. Occasionally, I dog sit which generates some side income too, but it’s even more random and infrequent.
My other passive income generators have been through credit card churning and rewards. I don’t spend copious amounts each month (see no-spending sprees) what I do spend, gets paid off every month and the reward for that is a few bucks to throw towards the gilded goal.
The smallest of the passive income clan are apps that reward receipts and Microsoft Rewards. These rewards are small, but they still get an entry in the spreadsheet!
A small win is still a win.
There are times when an unexpected amount finds its way to my bank account. Perhaps a refund, gift, or a survey reward either way, that slush gets rolled into the slush fund for the last 5%.
Compared to passive and active income, this is the smallest and most unexpected.
At times, it tests my fortitude. It’s easy to funnel funds when they’re marked from the moment they hit my bank account, but when it’s unexpected there are more momentary musings.
I have more fortitude when it’s planned pay.
I can save high amounts because I ditched debt like a date with questionable hygiene.
My car is 8 years old, and the loan was paid off back when the ice bucket challenges was America’s favorite pastime. I have no school loans because I traded 4 years of military service for the GI Bill. I live free and frugal to avoid credit card debt. I’m still slogging through a mortage but at a 2.25% interest rate.
What I’m doing is just as important as what I’m not doing.
How to Save $5000 in 6 months
For this savings story, the biggest saver was leveraging the consistent payday along with opting for overtime and holiday pay. The smaller saves helped too.
Wealth Noir understands my math, “What it all comes down to is creating a cash surplus by either spending less or earning more and then saving / investing the difference.”
Along the way, choices were made. Sometimes it meant saying no when I would have preferred to say yes. The six months passed the same way, and the many nos were worth the few yeses of how to save $5000 in 6 months.