I first started reading about increasing my savings rate on early retirement blogs – specifically, Mr. Money Moustache, which is anything but a gentle intro to the fine art of frugality and saving.
That said, it was an excellent wakeup call to re-examine what I had always thought about saving.
I was no slacker in the savings department, mind you. I followed the advice laid out for me in every book that talks about savings percentages.
- I saved 10% of my income for retirement, even as a pauper new grad
- I saved an emergency fund, even if I may have gone about it all wrong
There was rarely a month that went by when I wasn’t saving 20% of my income, so for all intents and purposes, I was doing great, right?
Let’s talk about why savings rates can make a huge difference in getting you through the most expensive decade of your life – your 20s – even if early retirement isn’t even on your radar.
I can’t think of any other time when you’ll be juggling paying for your education, a wedding, a home, a car and maybe even kids. There are just so many goals competing for your income – which is probably at the lowest point it’ll be in your professional career.
That’s why increasing your savings rate is the perfect way to cope with the juggling act that is millennial money. Even if you’re saving for big purchases, not just for retirement, increasing your savings rate can help you achieve your goals faster – and keep you far away from the Dread Pirate Debt.
That’s from a guest post I wrote on Millennial Money Man, about why increasing your savings rate is the perfect 20-something survival strategy.
So ok, you’ve read that and you’re convinced: this savings rate stuff is pretty good, and I should try it to.
Although a 20% savings rate is nothing to sneeze at, I knew that to have a hope of achieving some of my goals in my desired timeline, I’d need to get serious about saving – really serious.
I created an Excel spreadsheet where I wrote down all of my regular monthly expenses, including things like rent, food, coffee, car insurance, gas and the like. If you’re looking for a template to get you started, Canadian Budget Binder has a great – free budget you can download today.
Once everything was in the spreadsheet, I started to play around with the numbers. What if I could find savings in some of my current spending categories?
That question led me to cut these five items, one by one, from my monthly spending. As I cut each one, I redirected the money I was saving into specific accounts I set up for each of my savings goals, which gave my savings rate a big boost.
That’s from another guest post I wrote, this one for Canadian Budget Binder, about how I was able to raise my savings rate from 20% to 40% by cutting some key spending areas. I touch on some big-for-me ones, like the $42 average monthly book bill before I stopped spending money on books and started wearing the same thing every day.
Consider this a gentle nudge.
If you’ve seen countless posts that link your savings rate to early retirement goals, it’s easy to think that’s the only reason to increase it. But there are so many – so many! – other financial goals that people have, and saving more is the least risky way to reach them.
Even if it’s only a 1% increase, it’s a win. We don’t all need to be Mr. Money Moustache.
Also omg giant disclaimer, please always save that same 10% for retirement.
Has anyone else bumped up their savings rate to hit goals other than early retirement? I’d love to hear about it!