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- My mom taught me to keep little pots of savings in different places for when I need them.
- Today, I do this mostly virtually, although I still keep track of my change.
- I find it simpler and more fun, to know exactly what I’m saving for and how much progress I’ve made.
I may be the last person in the world still using a piggy bank.
It sits by the front door and whatever change I have at the end of my day gets dropped in, then fished out later for odds and ends like milk or bread.
In one of my clothes drawers is an envelope with some notes. These are bits of birthday money or from the occasional cash-in-hand gig. My current account is divided up into at least four different savings accounts. Some of my income is paid to me via an app and there’s money there, too, in an account I named ‘A Rainy Day.’
My money avatar is definitely a squirrel.
My savings strategy goes back to childhood
I get this attitude from my mum. Growing up she had two piggy banks in her room, one with the words ‘Immoral Holidays,’ and the other ‘Immoral Earnings,’ written along the sides. Mine and my sister’s pocket money always came out of one of these pigs, with change my mum had gathered during the week.
When I turned 18, my mum gave me the account book for a savings account she’d opened when I was born that she’d been putting little bits of money away in over the years. It had £500 in it that I used for driving lessons. A few months ago, she took me through the finer details of a new feature on her banking app where you can round up change from each transaction and put the pennies into a stock investment account.
The ‘saving for a rainy day’ mentality means that I have lots of different places to put my money (some physical, but mostly in terms of different accounts) and am very intentional about sorting out my money when it arrives into my account. Many of my individual savings accounts have names like ‘Summer Travel – Goal €1000’. This means that I can immediately see the goal I have set myself and see how close I am, plus there’s an element of gamification to the whole process that I enjoy.
A lot of my savings accounts have silly names (the one for my rent is called ‘La Vie Bohème’ — hello Rent The Musical fans!) which makes the whole thing feel more fun and less like a chore.
‘Hiding’ money means I always have a some available
Sometimes, when I’ve talked to friends about this approach, they’ve asked if it wouldn’t be simpler to have one single savings account where everything can go, and money just be taken out as needed? Personally, I think I would find that stressful; the fact of having lots of different pots is what allows me to keep track of my money, and it encourages me to save. It keeps me focused on my goals, means I know what I’ve earmarked my money for, and there’s satisfaction in sending money out of my ‘Chitty Chitty Bang Bang’ (car repayment) account each month.
Following my mum’s lead and being a financial squirrel has encouraged me to save, and to make putting money away into savings my first priority when I get paid. It has meant that, even when I was an exceptionally poor student, I still tried to keep bits of money set aside here and there that I had earmarked as ‘Fun Money’ and I could set myself clear and visible financial goals with various savings accounts.
As I’ve become more financially literate, I’ve extended this mentality into opening some stock and crypto accounts to squirrel money away for my future self, as well as opening life insurance and retirement funds. You can never have too many pots of savings!