We need money. We use it to provide food, shelter, and transportation for ourselves. We use it to make our lives more comfortable and convenient. We use it to help others who are in a tough spot. Unfortunately, money often comes and goes so fast that it can be easy to forget to save some of it! In this article, we'll go over 17 things to save up for to make your life stress free and awesome, regardless of your income.
Why Save Money?
We need to save money to secure your financial future and provide yourself with greater financial freedom. Having savings can eliminate the worry of dealing with unexpected expenses or help you reach your long-term goals, like buying a house or retiring early. Setting aside money each month will add up over time and give you more security and peace of mind. Saving money is one of the best ways to avoid debt. If you don't want to save or you're having a hard time making yourself start saving, just remember that all your saving money is ultimately spending money. You're just choosing to spend it later instead of in the short term! Your future self will thank you for saving money.
Read More: Learn How To Budget
17 Things To Save Up For
You can do so much with the money you save. The possibilities are endless! I've listed 17 ideas to keep in mind as you decide what things to save up for in your life. Some of them are practical and responsible. Others are just fun things to save for. I've tried to rank them in order of decreasing responsibility (a completely subjective measure). Enjoy!
1. Car registration
Just when you think you've covered all your transportation costs, you receive a notification that you need to reregister your car. Saving up a few extra dollars every month will ensure that you have the money available to pay your registration fees when they're due.
2. Car insurance
Of all things to save up for, this might sound like the most boring, but it is necessary to stay legally insured on the road. Make sure you save enough money to pay for your insurance every six months (or whenever yours is due).
3. Car maintenance
Your car will definitely break down. You may not know when, but trust me, your car will definitely break down or require some work. It's amazing how fast an unexpected $1,500 car repair bill can materialize, just when you thought you'd never have car problems again. A modern car is a miraculous and often reliable modern convenience, but it doesn't come without surprises!
4. Renter/home insurance
Renter's and homeowner's insurance are important to protect your belongings from disasters like theft or fire. Make sure you save enough money each month so that you can pay for these important policies when they come due.
5. Home maintenance
You might only need to replace the roof of your home every 15-30 years (unless you live in a particularly windy area), but you'll be glad you saved the money when the time comes so you're not hit with a $10,000 expense you're not ready for. Same goes for appliances.
6. Lawn care and landscaping
These services can vary seasonally. Consider setting aside some money each month (even during the winter) to cover any lawn care or landscaping costs that come up throughout the year.
7. Emergency fund
No one likes to think about the worst-case scenarios, but it's important to save enough money that you can cover living expenses for 3-6 months in case of a job loss or some other unfortunate event without using a credit card or going into debt.
8. Credit card fee
Some credit cards have annual fees, even if you pay them off in full every month.
9. Annual subscriptions
If you're subscribed to any services like Netflix or Amazon Prime, make sure you save enough money each month so that you can pay for them when the time comes.
10. College expenses
College can be one of the most important savings goals. In college you'll be spending money on everything from tuition to textbooks. The more you save money for college now, the less you'll need to worry about student loans later. Avoid college debt if you can!
11. Ongoing education
College isn't the only way to learn. Even after you finish college, you might want to save for the occasional online class or have a savings goal for an "educational" vacation. And adult field trip, if you will.
12. Retirement savings
If you're anything like me, you wonder if it will ever be possible to retire. If you're not saving for it, the answer is definitely no!
13. House decor and furniture
You can't control when you'll be gripped by the need to purchase a new couch. But when it happens, wouldn't it be nice to be able to make the purchase guilt-free?
14. Christmas and other holidays
Want to know why you always need to be saving for the holidays? Because you never know when you'll discover the perfect gift, and you want to be ready to make the purchase! Christmas is among the most deadly of holiday things to save up for. People often forget until it's too late and end up going into debt to generously provide gifts for others. Get yourself a Christmas savings plan so your Christmas can truly be merry!
Whether you're planning a family vacation or a solo vacation, saving up for it ahead of time will help you enjoy your time away without worrying about money. Vacation is one of the most fun things to save for!
16. Shorter trips
Not all vacations have to be long term savings goals. Consider short term savings for the occasional weekend trip.
17. Fun things that are important to you
Think about the last year of your life. What things did you spend money on that caught you by surprise? What opportunities did you have to pass up because you didn't have the money? Make sure to add these to your budget so you can have fun next time these opportunities arise!
Looking for even more budget category ideas? Check out the article I wrote about 121 Budget Category Ideas.
Ways to save money
It's important to find a way to save that works for you. I recommend a single savings account for everything except your retirement savings or long-term investments. Many people open multiple savings accounts or try to hide money from themselves so that they won't spend it. Once you learn to budget, you won't need to hide your savings from yourself or keep it in a secret account. You can keep all your savings in one high-yield savings account and give every dollar a job in your budget.
Check out my article comparing the budgeting tools YNAB and EveryDollar.
Save a percentage of your money
If you haven't yet learned to budget, one of the best ways to save money is to set the goal of saving a percentage of your total income each month (Also, if you haven't yet learned to budget, let me help you! I'm a certified budget coach!) This makes it easier to adjust when income changes or unexpected expenses arise. The important thing is to start small and work up from there. You can automate this process if your employer allows you to divert a part of your direct deposit to a different account or through automatic transfers at your bank.
Final thoughts: be patient
Saving takes time, so be patient with yourself as you build your savings. It also requires a new way of thinking about money. You have to be willing to commit to a budget and make sacrifices in order to build your savings. With the right plan and dedication, you can set yourself up for financial security.