Saving for Rainy Days & Life’s Delays

Maybe you’re thinking, “I’m in my 20s. Why do I need to have a fat savings account?” Realistically, you’re not going to have a lot of discretionary income right now as a college student working your way up the ladder. I know—saving is hard—but thinking about your future is a great incentive to do it.

And preparing for those unexpected moments when life just rips you to pieces. 

Unexpected car troubles

I know from personal experience that car troubles creep up when you least expect it. One day, I’m cruising down the highway in my 2002 Mitsubishi Lancer lovin’ life and the next I’m crying over a bowl of ice cream at my car repair bill. It happens. But imagine the stress of having car troubles—and not being able to afford the repair.

Situations like this call for a small financial cushion. I know, there’s always a way to get things done. I’m a firm believer in the cliché that everything works itself out. But why make life harder with little to no savings when you could give yourself some peace of mind and leave a stack of cash aside? 

Surprise — you’re sick!

Quite possibly the worst thing to plague my existence when I’m stressed is getting sick. I hate feeling overwhelmed with my schedule to the point where I neglect my health. 

Sometimes, from persistent burnout, we get sick. Our bodies just shut down and say, “no, thank you.” I’m no medical professional but I can definitely say from experience that countless nights pulling all-nighters and stress crying can have a negative impact on the immune system and body. It’s just…science. 

In a common instance, you may need to visit your physician or an urgent care center. However, sometimes these visits require expenses such as tests or prescriptions. If you’re strapped for cash, just the idea of these expenses might stress you out.

Allow yourself some wiggle room for rough patches like this. You should always have some money set aside to maintain your health.

You mean…I might want a house some day? And a new car?

Yeah, you heard me right. It’s time to make your wildest HGTV dreams come true. I’m not talking about revamping someone else’s home. I’m talking about building yours. 

Saving even a little bit for your future is a step in the right direction. You don’t need to worry about it now if you’re comfortable in your current living situation, but one day you may want a house to call your home. 

In case you haven’t heard, houses aren’t cheap. Let yourself live a little bit, but save some change here and there for that dream house!

Unemployment is alright…until it’s not 

So right now, you may be working a student-level job or something temporary as you work your way through college. Whether it’s your dream job or just a steppingstone, the unfortunate truth is that layoffs happen.

One day, you may be let go at the worst possible time in your life. You go into work and everything seems fine. The next day is consumed with sadness when you hear the news, “We’re letting you go.”

The general rule of thumb is to have at least three times the amount of your monthly income saved at any given time. The reasoning behind this advice is to prepare for situations such as quitting or being let go from your job.

If you can do anything to alleviate the pressure from situations like this, I highly recommend doing so.

The “50-30-20” rule

Recently, I’ve been trying myself to save a lot more. I had an epiphany after a deep discussion with my roommate about money.

I’ve been utterly reckless with my money for the past several years (basically since I entered the workforce). Eating out all the time, splurging on concerts, buying myself too many treat-yo'-self gifts. 

All of these splurges are great. I’m not saying you shouldn’t live your life. I’m just saying don’t do as I do. 

In my attempt to save more, I conducted some research on ways to warm up to saving. A common theme I encountered was the “50-30-20” rule. No, we’re not talking discounts. We’re talking savings.

According to the 50-30-20 rule, you should use 50% of your income for necessary expenses, whether that’s rent, groceries, gas, etc. Then, 30% goes to discretionary expenses including credit card bills, clothing, maybe an indulgence here and there. Finally, 20% of your income should go right to savings. Yes, you heard that right. Straight into savings, my friends. 

The idea here is to set aside a little money from each paycheck. If you think about it, 20% isn’t too bad. I mean, yeah, it’s 20% of your check that you could spend on skincare essentials, however, I promise that your Sephora points will still be there next month.

Baby steps, baby steps 

If you’re like me and not someone used to saving, it may feel hard at first. You may feel an inner force telling you, “Buy it. Just do it. You need it.” 

Try to channel that I’m-going-to-have-my-dream-house energy instead. Set aside some cash each paycheck. If you get a cash gift, split it up just as you would your income.

I promise you, if you save gradually it won’t feel so dramatic. If anything, it’ll give you some peace of mind knowing that you have a little cushion for those rainy days and life’s delays.

Images: 1, 2, 3