Welcome to The Saved Quarter. I’m writing this blog to document my journey from financial insecurity to financial independence and hope that you’ll join me.
You’ve likely heard the phrase penny wise, pound foolish used to describe a person who minds the small change without regard for the bigger picture. Unfortunately, this is where I have been thus far, and the fact that I’m not in uncontrollable debt is sheer luck. My husband and I live paycheck to paycheck, with no significant savings and no back up plan. It’s no way to live, and definitely not the way we want our children to handle their money as they grow. I am ready to take control and be both penny and pound wise.
Why “The Saved Quarter?”
Besides the obvious image of a change jar full of shiny coins, which can quickly demonstrate how small change adds up, The Saved Quarter offers a quick synopsis of my goal for 2010, and for this blog:
Save 3 months’ expenses (a quarter of the year),
or $6,000 (a quarter of our annual income.)
Of the eleven dictionary definitions of the word “save,” eight had clear connections to and help define my project.
-verb, (used with object)
1. to rescue from danger or possible harm, injury, or loss
Because I am off the credit grid, so to speak, with no credit cards, mortgage, or job, and until November 2009 had only a years old single charge-off of a store credit card to reflect my credit-worthiness, my credit score is abysmal. I’m putting in the effort to rescue it now, with the goal of a score of 700 by December, 2010.
2. to keep safe, intact, or unhurt; safeguard; preserve
Our fledgling emergency fund is going into an interest-bearing, FDIC insured account that is easier for me to deposit into than withdraw out of, safeguarding it from that which would destroy it faster than Wall Street: myself.
3. to keep from being lost
Avoiding bank overdraft fees, which have been eating up a ridiculous amount of our modest income, and interest charges.
4. to avoid the spending, consumption, or waste of
I’ll be avoiding recreational shopping and making purchases only when they are needed, spending mindfully, with an effort toward lowering my family’s overall level of personal consumption, using our spending to support our values by purchasing durable products instead of those that are disposable, and creating less waste.
5. to keep, as for reuse; and 6. to set aside, reserve, or lay by
We’ll be paying our savings first rather than saving just what is leftover at the end of the month, which frequently ends up being nothing.
7. to treat carefully in order to reduce wear
Avoid paying full price on items we’ve mindfully chosen to buy by shopping second-hand, using sales, coupons, and rebates to stretch every penny.
8. to prevent the occurrence, use, or necessity of
Find ways to meet our needs that do not cost money, such as free events, bartering and trading, and borrowing before buying new.
(I couldn’t connect my goals to the last three definitions, but if you see a connection please leave it in the comments!
9. Theology. to deliver from the power and consequences of sin.
10. Computers. to copy (a file) from RAM onto a disk or other storage medium.
11. Sports. to stop (a ball or puck) from entering one’s goal.)
So 2010 is to be a year of great saving in just about every sense of the word for me and my family! We’ll be saving our quarters – the shiny coins and the dollars they add up to; 1/4 of our income for the unexpected; and our home and household from the discord that comes from poor money management.
At the same time, I am trying to consume more responsibly and make more sustainable choices, both environmentally and on my personal budget sheet. I want to have a life with more joy and less stuff.