Ah yes. I am so going there.
I know it’s fairly uncomfortable, but here’s the thing – I’m a little obsessed with finance in the way of how people spend their money, how they save, budgeting apps people use and the like. What works for one person may not work for someone else, and what one person does may turn on a lightbulb for another. Fascinating, if you ask me.
Saving has become a HUGE part of my journey towards simple living – aside from decluttering it’s hands down the most important part of the process for me. It keeps me grounded and feeling safe - able to do the things I want to do (eh em, travel). It eliminates SO much stress knowing that I have multiple security blankets for different things, that my tax prep is all accounted for, and that my spending is tracked and if something were to happen, I'd be covered for a good amount of time. Financial independence and security is one of the main things my parents have always wanted for me and my older sisters, and I know for certain it’s something I will teach my kids at an early age as well. It’s been an invaluable lesson that I'm so grateful for.
So today I thought I would take a minute to share with you guys how I handle my finances (without getting too detailed ;) in hopes that if some of you are struggling, a lightbulb may turn on. I initially found the idea of the ABCD Method in an article I read a while back (I cannot remember the source for the life of me), so I took the basics of it and added my own touches.
So here’s my method: The breakdown of each account is explained below.
First of all, I bank with Chase and Ally Bank.
Chase holds my main checking account which is where all of my income goes into, while Ally holds all of my other accounts, including a high yield checking account and several high yield savings accounts. I realized (not soon enough!) that hosting my money with Chase, while convenient (Chase Quick Pay), wasn’t doing anything. With Ally, I gain (great) interest on the money that sits there, which is a win/win. Think of it like your credit card – you wouldn’t get one that didn’t have any rewards, right? (riiiight?)
A – ACTIVITIES ACCOUNT or what I refer to as “Wants, Not Needs”
This is through Ally in a high yield checking. Depending on my monthly income (this changes all the time) I'll give myself a certain dollar amount at the end of the month to use as spending for things like dinner with friends, beauty products I’ve been coveting (my weakness), a new book I've been wanting to read, etc. Generally this is around $200. Whatever I don’t use, I roll it over into the next month. *Transfer takes about 1-2 business days.
This account comes with a debit card, but I always make sure to have some of the money in cash as well.
B – BUSINESS & BILLS ACCOUNT
This is through Chase and is a business checking account. I only have a business account with them (and a business credit card), so this is where my income goes. I never fall below what my fixed expenses are each month (rent, health insurance, phone, car insurance, any subscriptions, etc) and will generally leave a several hundred dollar cushion there just to be safe.
This is the account that I pull from to add money to my other accounts with Ally.
C – CRISIS ACCOUNT or what I refer to as “Rainy Day Fund”
God forbid Jasper gets sick and needs to see the vet, or my battery dies in my car (been there), this is an account that I always have a fixed amount available. I never fall below $2,000. If I do, I stop putting money in my D account (see below) until my C account is replenished to at least $2,000.
Each job I get, 5-10% of that income goes into this account.
D – DREAM ACCOUNT
This is a fun one to watch grow ;) This account is mainly focused on all of the traveling that I want to do. It also doesn’t have a limit since it isn’t “necessary” like the Crisis Account. However I don’t let it fall below $1,500. This is also the account I will pull from to replenish my Crisis Account if needed. Once that’s been replenished and up to it’s $1,500 balance, I start adding to the Dreams account again.
Each job I get, (approx) 5% of that income goes into that account. I want to be able to travel for the rest of my life, so it's important to me to keep this account healthy.
E – ELDERLY FUND or what most people call “Retirement Fund” (I just needed it to start with an E, ha.)
This is my retirement fund. I have a couple of other accounts elsewhere that have my retirement squared away (for the most part), but I still like to add to this account when I can.
Occasionally, 10% of my income goes into this account. If you're self employed and not enrolled in any kind of 401k, please, please go look into opening up a retirement savings account as soon as possible. I promise you, you won't regret it.
F – FOR TAXES aka “Tax Prep”
Being a small business owner, this means my taxes aren’t automatically taken out since I don’t get a bi-weekly paycheck. It forces me to be super diligent and ensure that I’m saving for each quarter or at the end of the year. I’ve always paid quarterly, but this year I decided to pay a large sum at the end of the year. I never, ever skip on putting money into this account since I’d only be hurting myself later. This sometimes means I don't see a majority of that income, depending on the job, but its a small(ish) price to pay to be your own boss, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.
Each job I get, 20-25% of that income goes into this account.
So there you have it! How I manage my money. I hope this is helpful (or at least somewhat interesting) to some of you.. If you have any questions or want something explained in more detail, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Photographer. Stylist. Writer.