Sunday, July 20, 2014

The Dollar-a-Day Savings Project

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.

24 comments:

Dawn Lucy said...

Sometimes I think of doing some sort of special "piggy bank" to save up for some luxury item I wouldn't normally buy for myself. But I haven't worked out any details! Cute idea and love the Hermes box! I'll add this book to my reading list!
OXOX
Dawn Lucy
http://fashionshouldbefun.blogspot.com

Rosemary Nardone said...

Have to get a copy of this book Sounds very interesting and we all can use some ways to save money I can understand using the samples idea, I have 2 bags filled of samples just waiting to be loved!!

Rosemary
www.nycstylelittlecannoli.com

JoanneM said...

Quarters in the large glass jar. Or many glass jars. Add often. It can be a great way to save.......for fun.

A great read for you Jill is The Pink Suit by Nicole Mary Kelby. You would love it!

happyface313.com said...

:-) Funny that you write this today, when I have posted my "piggy banks" in the weekly photo challenge today.

I put all the coins that fill up my tiny wallet into 2 vintage lens containers. When they're full I take them to the bank, to deposit them into the savings account. It's not tons of money, but I'm always surprised to see to how much little coins can add up to.

Happy Sunday, dear Jill! xo :-)

Adrienne Shubin said...

Interesting experiment. My method is to save all the $50 and $100 bills I receive in the red leather box my Rolex came in. It's been awhile since I added to my stash..I should probably fatten that up a little soon!

sepatuholig-Grace Njio said...

Looks like one awesome book!
http://sepatuholig.blogspot.com/

Coulda shoulda woulda said...

I try and not buy those silly little things - pennies add up. so instead of starbucks i put that away and at £2.50 in one go it adds up so in a year that is more than a thousand dollars without even trying!!!

Serene McEntyre said...

My husband is the saver in our house...and thank God for that! We balance each other out that way. But I do think of little ways that she mentions on the page you photographed. Using makeup till it's gone is a big way! When I think of all the lipsticks I buy?!?! And eye shadow and hair products! That REALLY adds up! I think I may try actually putting the money aside and see how fast it will add up! Great ideas! Hugs girly! Serene

rosie said...

Read Paris Letters - very enjoyable. The money-saving tips Janice used to get to her dream of living in Paris was my favorite part.


Pam @ over50feeling40 said...

We need to improve in the savings area...I think you may have just inspired me to start the dollar a day savings plan...love that! Thanks Jill!

PinkCheetahVintage said...

I want to save up for a necklace (I know! I'm materialistic!) and I need to do something like this...

Jill said...

Hi Dawn Lucy, I highly recommend a special piggy bank just for fashion or jewelry purchases. It has helped me so much with impulse buying, which I never did a lot of anyway, and now I just don't do at all anymore! XO, Jill

Jill said...

Hi Rosemary, what have you been up to in the city? I am trying that idea of Janice's too, using up all the makeup/samples/etc. before buying anything new. XO, Jill

Jill said...

Hi Joanne, I just wrote that book title down and am going to look for it on Amazon! I love saving coins in a jar too! Then once a year I take them to the bank and let the kids put them in the coin counter. I need to set aside a jar for quarters, we always seem to use them around here but I know they would add up quick. XO, Jill

Jill said...

Hi Claudia, I see Joanne and I are not the only ones who saves coins! I need to add a giant coin jar just for my Kelly fund. Ha. XO, Jill

Jill said...

Hi Adrienne, oh I would love it if I had some $50 or $100 bills to add to my stash. XO, Jill

Jill said...

Hi Sepatuholig-Grace, you should get a copy of "Paris Letters" it's one of the more inspiring books I've read recently. XO, Jill

Jill said...

Hi Naomi, I could never get over how much money the lawyers I worked for would spend on Starbucks in one day. They would go once in the morning and again in the afternoon and all I could think was, Is the firm paying you THAT much? I'm with you, put that money away and you have a nice little fund by the end of the year! XO, Jill

Jill said...

SERENE!!!! How are you? It's nice to hear from you! I think I will join you and Janice and maybe try to use up all the cosmetics I have. Wow, that would take a long time. Don't even get me started on how much nail polish is in this house...XO, Jill

Jill said...

Hi Rosie! I'm with you, my favorite chapters of "Paris Letters" all had to do with how she changed her life in order to realize her dream and the ways she saved money were so creative and thoughtful! XO, Jill

Jill said...

Hi Pam, I felt a little silly at first, I will admit, saving a dollar a day. My brain was like, Do you really think this is going to add up to anything significant? I'm glad I ignored that voice and just did it anyway. It was satisfying to turn $30 extra dollars over to my Fashion Fund! If you do a savings project like this let me know how it goes for you. I should be doing this every single day! XO, Jill

Jill said...

Becky my dear, I'm materialistic too, I can't help it. I vote you save a dollar a day until you can get that necklace! Necklaces are good and you work hard at your business and taking care of your family! You need a new necklace in your life! XO, Jill

JoanneM said...

Another thought.....we saved quarters in a large glass apple cider bottle for a year. Deliberate savings....had enough for a domestic plane ticket and some good change left over.
Saving coins deliberately is more goal oriented. Just tossing them in there when you have them, not so. Because I am fiercely competitive (runner, fitbit, you name it) I had to add to the jar purposefully.
It works. Crazy though. :)

Jill said...

Hi again Joanne, I love the idea of this--enough quarters at the end of the year for a domestic plane ticket! Wow! And I also love the idea that saving coins deliberately is more goal oriented. I may have to try this project on for size, it sounds like something that would work for me! Thanks for the tip! XO, Jill