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I swear, the universe smells when I have money. Everytime I get the emergency fund to $1000 or income tax returns near, I have to turn around and throw money at cars, appliances, or other unforseen expenses! I keep a tight budget and set aside a little each month towards stuff I know is coming but man, it's hard to pay down debt and keep up with mechanical problems. 

Any tips for hanging on to savings long enough to make it grow? I'm planning on a yard sale and need to find a new side hustle. Planning a spend-free month and giving up the idea to even camping a few days for spring break. It's frustrating!

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I totally feel ya! It does seem like when you are getting to a good place financially, something comes up and sets you back.

I personally have started implementing the "Pay Yourself First" principle, which I learned a lot about in the book "The Richest Man In Bablyon"

Somewhere else I read that this amount (typically starting with 10%) that you pay yourself is supposed to be completely separate from even your emergency fund etc.

I can see how this might be difficult and require some sacrifice but over time, as you practice this principle, you begin to have a nice little chunk of change that can be invested in something that will cause that amount to grow. (The book goes into more detail)

Also, when it comes to paying off debt, something my mentor taught me is to take a more balanced approach to savings, debt reduction, etc.

He even recommends setting a specific percentage towards each and keeping them equal and increasing over time (ie. 5% savings, 5% investments, 5% debt reduction)

Some people tell you to attack your debt with everything you have left over and then you end up burning out and it can actually end up working against you in the long run.

I am personally implementing this. Although I still have a decent amount of debt, I have a solid plan for getting it paid off and I also have a decent amount invested and am building up some savings.

So by the time I pay off my debt completely, although I may not be doing it as fast as I could, I will be in a much better financial position in the future.

You still have to pay yourself first, even when you're paying off debt! Building that foundation of an emergency fund, even if it's a wee thing, can help prevent you from going back to credit cards when an expense crops up. 

One thing that's helped for me is taking advantage of a payment plan for unforeseen expenses when I can. For instance, I had to get some medical tests done a few years ago and it added up to about $900. I asked them flat out if I could get on a monthly payment plan and it was no problem - and often there's no interest. It stinks to see the bill each month, but it helps you spread out the expense so you can still save a bit each month and not just wave goodbye to your money.

 

Boy, do I relate!  I'm a restaurant worker on disability so I have income restrictions and an asset limit, both extremely low.  What I do is program the Stash app to take a portion of my paycheck each payday and invest it--it's there if I need it, but a pain to get to enough that I don't blow it on something silly like the latest video game console.

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