Her Financial Goal: Cut Out All Those Small Money Wasters
"I work in Manhattan and I have two daughters," says Pam, "and it just seems incredibly easy to drop money without thinking about it. I don't see myself having the time to keep a 'money diary,' but I still feel we could be saving more money than we do."
Here's what Jean advises:
Step 1: Find those "small money wasters" by grabbing a notebook and writing down every single thing you spend money on: the extra cookie at lunch that was $1.25, the items from the grocery store that weren't on your list, the magazine from the train station whose cover looked cool. Most people are surprised at the results.
Step 2: Tally up the money wasters and arrange for an automatic monthly transfer, in that amount, to a savings account. If you're set for emergency savings, you can earmark the money to a college savings account, IRA or brokerage account instead. Then visualize (yes, having an actual picture in your mind helps) what you're going to buy with all of this stockpiled loot. Focus on that when you feel the urge to (mindlessly) splurge.
-- With reporting by Maggie McGrath
Coming Saturday: A DailyFinance Reporter Is Ready to Break Up With His Bank
Or, read the previous article in the series: Her Financial Goal: Getting an Underwater Mortgage Afloat Again