Today we have a quick, but extremely important, public service announcement to share with y’all.
And that is:
QUIT TOUCHING YOUR MONEY YOU’VE SAVED!
- All that money sitting in savings? Quit touching it!
- All that money in your emergency fund? Quit touching it!*
- All those coins you’ve been collecting from the 1800′s? Oh. You can touch those :)
But you do yourself no good when you stash money away at the beginning of the month, only to dip back into your savings later to pay your bills. We call that the “checking account shuffle” and it sucks ass. All it does is give you hope that you later have to take back and annoy yourself even more.
Fortunately, this PSA comes with a verified solution:
- Admit you have a touching problem**
- Focus on getting actual money that you can actually save
- Put the money somewhere untouchable
- Quit touching it
Step #3 is my favorite as it’s what got me started on the right track many a moons ago. After mastering the art of the checking shuffle myself, I finally wised up and took my father’s advice to start contributing to my 401(k) at work. There was a little mishap that was quite embarrassing at first, but once it got going I had my A-Ha moment and I was hooked.
WHEN YOU DON’T TOUCH YOUR MONEY IT KEEPS GROWING!! OMG!!!!
So $100 became $1,000, and then $1,000 became $10,000, and so on and so forth until we reached a cool $350,000+ today. There’s more to it of course than just not touching it (like maxing it out, continuing to hustle, etc etc), but it’s certainly a key part of the game. Anytime you’re trying to build something you’ve got to keep on adding to it and never subtract. That slows down both your momentum AND your motivation!
And the beautiful part about retirement accounts is that they block you from your own temptation! If you pull out you get a fat slap by the government and taxed up the arse so there’s no way you’re gonna do it (crazy emergencies not withstanding). It’s the perfect way to hide money from yourself, while at the same growing your nest egg.
Another trick you can do is to set up automatic transfers from your paycheck directly into a bank account you don’t have easy access too. Like, say, a bank clear across town which you purposely didn’t sign up to get online access. If you want your money you’re gonna have to drive across town and physically go get it! And who has time for that these days? By the time you’re on the road anyways, this blog post will pop in your head and force your sweet little ass to turn around ‘cuz you know I’d give you $hit for it the second I found out… And I WILL find out, believe me. I have people ;)
If you REALLY don’t trust yourself to go either of those routes – which would be pretty cuckoo if you ask me – another option you can do is just to pay down your debt instead. It’s not savings per se, but usually when you pay something off more like your mortgage or auto loan, etc, you can’t go back and take it out again. So it’s forced *future* savings in a way, though don’t try it with credit cards – they happily allow you to dip back in again, those bastards.
Now as far as how to actually get more money to save if you’re stuck on Step #2, well, that comes down to two simple options: earn more or spend less. Obviously you have to live a satisfying life and I’d never – I repeat NEVER – tell you to quit going to Starbucks if that excites you, but you do have to cut out other areas of non-importance if you’re serious about saving at any point. It’s not going to be easy and will require some serious habit changing, but as you’ve read time and time again on finance blogs, it’s most definitely possible. You just have to want it bad enough or you’ll find any number of excuses to halt your progress.
If you like the way you’re spending right now and not up to changing anything, well, that’s fine too but you’ll then have to figure out how to *earn* more. Which will then have to come from either your job (can you shoot or a raise? Promotion? New job altogether?), or your time off (can you take on a side hustle? Sell some crap? Start a biz?). Plenty of options out there for the taking, but you may find it harder than option #1: spending less. Only you will know the answer to that, though.
Regardless, as you can plainly see by this much-longer-than-necessary explanation of the consequences of touching your savings, you should remember just to NOT do it and we can all go on our merry way and pretend this convo never happened… It’s not always cookies and rainbows up in this piece, but it’s a necessary part of growing your wealth.
So remember: Money In, Phalanges Off! My people are watching you this weekend, you make sure to behave yourselves…
* Unless you actually have a real-life emergency that needs your dollars’ attention.
** Ewww, why would you ever touch a frog?? (get your mind out of the gutter)