By now, you may have heard of the 50/30/20 rule. According to this rule, you should save 20% of your income, while 30% goes toward flexible spending, and the other 50% toward fixed costs, which includes bills and other expected expenses. As with most things, this rule can be tweaked to fit your own personal budget. Through the process of individualizing this rule according to your financial situation, you might find that it is easier for you to save less than 20%. Keep in mind that saving this amount or more can give you more freedom to do bigger things that you wouldn’t otherwise be able to, like going on a mini-vacation!
Spur-of-the-moment getaways, like a 5-hour trip to Chicago or a 4-hour drive to Mackinac Island, can be affordable to you at any time, if you invest your money wisely. You don’t even have to plan for the vacation before you begin saving; start a rainy day fund so you can go on vacation whenever you want! If 50% of your income goes toward fixed costs, try saving 30% and using the other 20% for miscellaneous purposes.
Maybe the idea of saving 30% sounds doable to you. Or maybe you’re thinking, “That is not enough money for a weekend trip.” It is, you’ll just have to get creative! Start shopping your local thrift stores for deals that you won’t find anywhere else. When you get home from work, cook yourself a meal and take the leftovers for lunch the next day to avoid spending money on fast food. On the weekends, carpool with your friends to save on gas, and suggest that you all put your money together to split the cost of meals at restaurants. And most of all, learn to tell yourself no. If there’s something you know you don’t need, then don’t purchase it.
Start thinking of all the good you’re doing by making the effort to save a higher percentage of your income. You’re making a healthier choice when you decide not to purchase fast food, and you’re helping the environment when you carpool. Once you start saving more, you’ll notice the difference immediately. You’ll always have extra money when you need it, and if you want to take a quick trip out of town, you can do it on your own terms. Next time you feel a cool breeze and wish you were somewhere far away, or next time you take a look at your surroundings and decide you need a change of scenery, think of changing the ways you save. The benefits are endless!