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businessinsider - 9 days ago

They say you shouldn t get emotional about money, but ignoring that advice helped me save $35,000 in a year and a half

  In a year and a half, I managed to save $35,000 in an emergency fund. I was in a long-distance relationship and wanted to move to my partner s city, but I didn t feel like I could do that until I d saved enough to cover my expenses for a full year if I couldn t find a job. I worked hard to save that money, and every time I wanted to spend a little extra or stray from my budget I would remind myself why I was saving: to be with my partner. See Business Insider s picks for the best high-yield savings accounts » Let s be honest, saving money can be hard work. Putting away a year s worth of expenses meant working long hours, staying flexible, and avoiding extra costs wherever possible.  It took me over a year and a half to meet my savings goal, but I was able to save $35,000 to serve as my emergency fund. Here s how I did it.  #div-gpt-ad-1579713650634-0 > div > iframe { width: 100% !imp min-width: max-width: } window.googletag = window.googletag || { cmd: [] }; googletag.cmd.push(function () { googletag.defineSlot( /1035677/Business_Insider_ , [[1, 1], [300, 139], [595, 139], [300, 250], [595, 250], [300, 360], [595, 360], [300, 475], [595, 475]], div-gpt-ad-1579713650634-0 ) .addService(googletag.pubads()); googletag.pubads().enableSingleRequest(); googletag.pubads().setTargeting( category , [ Banking ]).setTargeting( subcat , [ Savings Accounts ]).setTargeting( post_id , []) .setTargeting( post_url , []) .setTargeting( keyword , []) .setTargeting( company-product , []) .setTargeting( post_title , []); googletag.enableServices(); }); googletag.cmd.push(function () { googletag.display( div-gpt-ad-1579713650634-0 ); }); Why I built these savings First of all, to build my savings, I needed to have a strong reason to diligently stash away all of my extra funds — and that reason was my partner. We had been in a long-distance relationship for years and I wanted to move to the city where he lived, but to do that, I needed to build up enough savings to cover my expenses for a year if I couldn t quickly find a new job. My partner and I started dating while in college, even though we lived hours away from each other. After graduation, I accepted a job in my college town that paid a respectable $15.50 per hour. However, the job meant that I was trapped in that city for the time being. The only way to move where my boyfriend of two years lived would be to find a new job or build an emergency fund that would allow me to safely move without financial repercussions. With that, I decided to start building an emergency fund that would cover an entire year s worth of expenses. I set a goal of $35,000 because I knew that would cover even the worst-case scenario of expenses for an entire year. I could sustain myself during a long job hunt if I decided to make the move before I found a new job.  How I built my savings Once I had my goal in mind, I had to get creative to build these savings.  I was lucky enough to avoid student loans One big expense that I was able to avoid as a new graduate was student loan payments. Through a combination of scholarships and help from my generous parents, I was able to make it through college without any debt. I realize that part of my story is not feasible for every graduate, but I m thankful that it was possible for me.  Without student loans squeezing my budget, I was able to save more money each month I avoided lifestyle inflation When I built out my first post-college budget, I kept it as similar as possible to the lifestyle I lived as a student. In fact, I even lived in the same small studio apartment for a year after graduation. I continued to enjoy free entertainment around my favorite college town to keep costs low.  Lifestyle inflation is notorious for taking your budget to a breaking point. I worked hard to keep my spending under control as I waded into the waters of full-blown adulthood.  I picked up a side hustle and turned it into a career At my first job, $15.50 per hour was covering my living expenses, but it didn t leave much leftover to save at the end of each month. Even without student loans, I didn t have room in my budget to build savings quickly. In order to save $35,000 in a year, I needed to find a new source of income. I decided to pursue freelance writing. I ve always enjoyed writing and saw the potential to build an entirely new career without the strings of a traditional desk job holding me to a particular city.  Of course, it wasn t easy to build a successful business as a freelancer with a day job. But the long nights and periods of self-doubt were worth the cost. I was able to build a business that can completely support my lifestyle costs and built a solid emergency fund in the process.  I enjoyed the fun things in life Throughout the time that it took to build these savings, I did not retreat from the outside world just to save a few dollars. In fact, I continued to enjoy evenings out with friends and road trips to local destinations. I just made sure that these outings worked with my budget goals. Luckily, I had supportive friends who were equally interested in sticking to a budget.  I kept my goal in mind I built my emergency fund through a combination of putting in long hours after my day job, building new skills, and budgeting carefully. Some days, I didn t want to follow through on my plans.  But I would always remember the goal in the back of my mind. I wanted to build these funds to provide a safety net if I decided to move to a new city to be with my boyfriend before finding a new job.  I used that goal as a way to motivate myself when Netflix was calling my name or a new writing assignment seemed like more than I wanted to do. The power of a clear goal cannot be understated.  The bottom line In the end, it took me over a year to save $35,000. I ended up finding a job where I wanted to live before I reached my goal, but I continued working to build my emergency fund. After moving, my new reason to save was to serve as a backup plan if my decision to transition to full-time freelancing didn t work out as planned.  I don t regret my decision to build a substantial emergency fund. It has given me the freedom to make choices that allow me to follow my dreams, no matter the financial implications. More savings and retirement coverage How to retire early The best high-yield savings accounts right now How to calculate how much money you need to retire The banks with the best CD rates Join the conversation about this story NOW WATCH: Why Pikes Peak is the most dangerous racetrack in America


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