|Stuff and save!|
One of the most interesting aspects of Paris Letters by Janice MacLeod was reading about how she pared her life down in LA and began to save money—lots of it—to quit her copywriting job for two years and travel to Europe. She was a lot freer than I am—no husband, no kids—but I found some of her suggestions on saving money apply to anyone, anywhere, no matter their situation, and in the back of the book she has an entire index devoted to them!
|A list, pages long, on how Janice saved money!|
While I don’t want to go live in Europe, I am always looking for tips to save for big ticket items. Janice wanted to see if she could save a $100 a day. I thought I’d start much smaller and just go for $1 a day. Don’t laugh, dear reader! It seems like every time I turn around I’m literally out of cash. How does this happen? I am not out getting manicures every weekend (I never am, I do them myself) or even buying J. Crew or Zara clothes (a rare treat), and yet I find myself out of cash nearly all the time. I know a lot of this has to do with having kids. A bag of apples here, a loaf of bread there, and milk, milk, and more milk—this is where my money is going, as I learned when I tracked my expenditures for one week. So I thought I’d try to tuck just one dollar a day away for one month. Not a lot, not anything really, but it would be an exercise in mindfulness and discipline, and a dollar a day would beat the terrible interest rate my Fashion Fund savings account is currently earning!
I decided to stuff each day’s dollar in the cute Hermès box shown above so my subconscious would take the hint as to what the top thing on my wish list is (Don’t judge).
I was pretty good about remembering the first few days, but by the middle of the month it was starting to slip my mind and sometimes I had to go back and put in two or three dollars to make up for days I had forgotten. On days when I only had a five or a ten, or (gasp!) a twenty on me, I had to write the box a mental IOU. It was fun to see the dollar bills pile up as the days went on. I felt like a bartender with an Hermès tip box, the best kind of tip box there is!
|I love this book for its tips on saving money.|
While it seemed fairly painless, I stopped the project after the month was up. I think it’s just easier to decide to put X number of dollars in a savings account every month and be done with it, which is what I normally do, and what I did the month I tried the Dollar-a-Day Project. In that sense it was a total success because I saved twice—once at the beginning of the month and again at the end of the month when I turned the dollar bills I was able to set aside into a money order which I sent to the bank.
I do like the idea that coins in a jar or dollars in a box could eventually add up to something significant. Maybe I will try a short-term project like this again but with a different approach. Any suggestions?
I always love hearing of little ways people save money so if you have any tips on tucking away dollars, please share them below!
And Janice’s book is a gem. If you haven’t read it yet, get a copy, maintenant! It’s the perfect summer read—charming and inspiring and wonderful.