From Savings stress to success – The savings journey of Jaime, a Flourish Saver
My savings journey began with a friend. In college I took a personal finance class with my friend Skyler, and in becoming more familiar with personal financial strategies, we also became more open about our own situations. We were able to give each other realistic advice because we were living similar experiences.
Savings does not need to be a solo mission
We knew what it was like to be a recent college grad, trying to be financially independent while balancing rent, commute, cell phone bill, student loans, and let’s be real having a social life. My parents, on the other hand, cringed when I told them how much I pay to share a 4 bedroom house in west Oakland, and how I walked away from being vested for my pension at UCB Berkeley when I decided to switch careers. It was difficult for them to understand my situation because it was different from when they were my age.
Saving was one of the topics my close friends and I did not discuss often. I’d always known that having a savings account was something we all should have, but I was always super embarrassed that I didn’t have one.
The older I get and the more transparent I am with some of my friends, the more I realize that this was a reality for a lot of people my age as well. The truth is I’ve made a few not so smart financial decisions and being open with people my age about this has helped me get past it.
My path to financial stability has been far from smooth. I left for college at 17 years old and paid my way through school with government aid, loans, and by working 20 hours a week at a work study job. Saving was just about impossible for me until I graduated. Upon graduation, I found myself scrambling to find a full time job to afford my rent in Berkeley. It was not until August of 2015 I gained employment, a stable paycheck, and started saving money.
I really struggled with saving prior to opening a separate online savings account because I could always see the balance of my savings account right below my checking. Anytime I was nearing 0 in my checking I used my savings as a constant fall back, adding and taking out a balance very frequently.
Once I started a separate online savings account, I was able to make saving passive, with automatic transfers every paycheck. I started with 5–10 dollars every paycheck and increased the amounts as I got more comfortable. I tried my hardest to time the transfers so that they were removed from my checking the same day that my paycheck was direct deposited, so in a sense I was making myself used to a smaller paycheck in attempts to build a savings. I also made my password really obscure, only to be found on a sticky note in my room, so I couldn’t easily check my balance. This made the very minimal saving that I was doing something I didn’t have to think or stress about.This method was helpful, but I wanted to save more.
Getting to know Flourish
Jessica told me about Flourish and I was super intrigued to hear more about it and get started as a test user. At first, I was a skeptical that I would obtain any rewards, given my small savings amounts, but Flourish milestones started small, and I quickly gained coins and started to enter raffles.
On the app, I could actively see my saving balance increase; and the best part was that it was tied to rewards, my Flourish coins. Having the app on my phone made me more conscious about my spending and when I would think about buying something that wasn’t necessarily an immediate need, I would check my balance on Flourish.
However, I wasn’t checking my balance to see if I could take money out, I was checking it to see how close I was to the next milestone, and if instead I should pass on the unnecessary purchase. Flourish helped me maintain a balance with my saving. Instead of constant reminders to use the app and save, I am instead reminded that I am eligible to participate in games and raffles with a chance to win prizes.
Importance of Savings
Saving is important to me because I am getting older, taking on more financial responsibilities, and slowly working toward my financial goals. The older I get the more independent I’ve become which has encouraged me to maintain more of a fallback when it comes to my personal finances.
I’ve been situated in the bay area for about 7 years now, and although I have no plans to move away at this point, I still can’t predict where I will be in the next 2, 5, and 10 years. This is why it is important to me to save for the unexpected. It’s important to save so that I can afford to treat myself every so often to things like music festivals and going out for dinner or drinks with family and friends.
Saving is important to me in case of an emergency, knowing that I will have some money to fall back on. It’s ultimately important to me that I am able to live a comfortable life, not live paycheck to paycheck, be able to enjoy myself every so often and take care of my loved ones.