submitted by Esperanza
Tip Topic: "Pay it Forward"
A couple years ago my coworkers and I found ourselves discussing our financial situations during lunch. One person wanted to reduce their credit card debt, another had no savings, and I wanted to buy a home. We were all learning about how to take care of our money situations on our own and it was proving to be a challenge. Then we came up with the brilliant idea to start a budget club and that’s when the magic began.
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We began checking in with each other once or twice a month to discuss our financial situations, rejoice in the things we did well with our money, and told one another our goals for next check-in. This was a time to ask one another about goals they set up for themselves and would ask if they accomplished it. If they didn’t, we would support one another and create steps together to make sure it happened.
Our budget club has become a place where we get really excited about becoming money-savvy, keeping each other accountable, and learning really important lessons from one another. Together we set up our IRA’s and began saving for retirement and now each have thousands of dollars saved up. We taught one another how to save for a home and most of us are now homeowners!
We encouraged one person to check her credit score for the first time and another to start an emergency savings. If someone wanted to make a big purchase we’d ask, did you budget for that item? If not, then we’d remind them of their goals and to stick to the plan for financial freedom. We’ve done all of this and so much more and our situation is not unique.
You can start a budget club too! This could be with your friends, family, coworkers, neighbors, church members, book club people, and anyone else you want to brainstorm with to get a hold of your money situation and who will keep you accountable. No one has to be an expert at this, you just have to be willing to learn together.
If you need some ideas to get started, here’s a few:
Save $25 each paycheck towards an emergency savings.
Put an extra $50 towards your highest interest credit card until its paid off, then put that monthly payment towards your next debt.
Cook more at home and eat out only once a week.
Open a 401K or Roth IRA and contribute 1% of your paycheck towards it.
Ride your bike to work.
As with any goal in life, you are more likely to succeed with the support of a partner to keep you accountable and on track. This is what makes a budget club so successful. All you need is some friends, a notebook and a willingness to bring you closer to your money goals. I'm so grateful we started our budget club because I have gained so much from their support and advice and the fact that I also contributed to their own money success!
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Editor's Note: This tip was submitted for our special "Pay it Forward" and share your story series.
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