If I am being completely honest, I started saving for my husband’s wedding gift almost 2 years before we got married. Were we engaged yet? Nope! But I knew we would be (hehe!) in the upcoming year. I knew I really wanted to get him something nice and that it would cost a pretty penny! I figured this would be the only really nice gift he gets from me with all of my hard earned money. Our wedding was also around his 30th birthday present so it was kind of a combination birthday and wedding gift.

I’ve always been the type of person to save a little at a time, over a long period, so it doesn’t seem like such a financial burden when I do need to make a large purchase. I think I got that from my daddy!  I’m even OCD in certain ways like all of the cash bills in my wallet have to face the same way.  However, my ways of saving are really “old fashioned”. Like taking $20 out of my paycheck and putting it in an envelope, old fashion, and letting the total build up gradually over time.  Now I know some of you must do the same thing, but there also has to be an easier and smarter way!

I then discovered Personal Capital. This FREE platform allows you to budget, save, and keep an organized eye on all of your finances. Hallelujah! Here are the top 5 things I love most about Personal Capital and the Budgeting Tool:

  1. Identifying areas of most spending.

I knew I spent more than I wanted to each month in 2019 and would love to save more in 2020. I was surprised when I found out that I spend the most on food in grocery stores and restaurants. Girl loves to eat, what can I say! Realizing this, I now make a conscientious decision on what I am buying at the grocery store and what I actually need vs. want during the week. Planning meals beforehand and having set recipes with ingredients I need is helpful so that I am not overbuying or just buying things because they look good. Also don’t go grocery shopping when you’re hungry. You’ll end up buying way more than you need I promise!

2. Budget monthly costs and itemize transactions.

There are areas that we can’t help our spending like rent, utilities, insurance, etc. So those items aren’t going anywhere. After adding all of those costs up, I realized what balance I had left to work with to spend on food and personal “luxuries”.

I also found out I have an unnecessary spending habit on things like coffees, snacks, and trendy healthy brands, so I made a plan of what could be cut out of my budget! It was time to get back to the basics of buying good ol’ whole fruits and vegetables. It’s probably for the best anyways. Trying to eat less processed foods is way better for me!

I now limit myself to X amount for groceries and Y amount for restaurants and “luxuries” to help myself save a little more in this area. Love the simple problem solving with the help of the Budgeting Tool!

3. Recognize amount of cash inflow vs. outflow.

Honestly, I wasn’t quite sure how much I made last year since I have a few different revenues of income. Last year I had two part time jobs and I do some online work so I never had one paycheck stub with my grand total of what I made.  Realizing what I made vs. how much I was spending was an eye opener as well!  It’s great that this Budgeting Tool on Personal Capital shows all of my deposits so I have a more accurate depiction of how much I actually made in 2019.

This also allowed me to set a goal for myself this year for how much I would like to make. Make more, save more!

4. Keep me on track to achieve my monthly saving goal.

You can set a monthly saving goal with the Budgeting Tool on Personal Capital. During the month I can see if I am on track to save my desired monthly amount or if I was bad and still spent more than I should (whoops!). If I want to save more during certain months, I can always edit that goal in my profile.

5. Set a yearly savings goal.

So in 2020 I want to use the Budgeting Tool on Personal Capital to help me increase my savings. Hubby and I are trying to save as much as possible, because we would love to buy a house one day! Hopefully sooner rather than later 😉 Having a constant reminder of my goal is really helpful, so that I keep it in mind, when I do my daily activities!

A little goes a long way when saving. There is no perfect rulebook to follow, but I think that when there is a time that you are able to set a little more money aside, do it! If there is a time where you actually can’t save all that much, that’s fine also! Just being mindful will help you ultimately reach your goals one day. Having all of your expenses in one place makes this process that much easier.

This is why I love Personal Capital and their FREE services. Finances can be tricky so whether you’re paying off student loans, budgeting for big life purchases, or planning for retirement, Personal Capital can really help you out. So if you’re in some financial guidance, check them out!

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