Last year I finally achieved a positive net worth for the first time in my adult life (I’m 34). I am not prolifigate or materialistic but due to some unavoidable personal circumstances I’ve spent the last 8 years paying off almost $200K in unsecured debt. This is SUCH a relief and I have to give myself credit for being disciplined about paying it off. But here’s my dilemma.
I am self-employed and made some good money last year but I feel like I ought to have more saved up at the end of the year. I keep track of every single thing I spend money on, business and personal, literally to the penny. So I know what I’ve spent money on and how much. But while I can see how I ended up with the amount I have, I just can’t shake the feeling that I should have saved more.
What I’m wondering is maybe I have cockeyed ideas as to how much I should have saved? ie, maybe I’m being too hard on myself or having unrealistic expectations.
So what I’d like to know is how much does a “normal” person save in a year? ie, not super cheap, not spending crazy, making enough money for thier expenses that they don’t have to lay awake at night worrying about paying the rent (been there, done that).
I’m looking for whatever you think, ie a percentage, an actual amount, etc. I don’t need advice so much as to re-calibrate my expectations.
Saving is hard enough without putting yourself down by telling yourself you should have saved more. I’ve had trouble saving money for years. Last year I decided to set a specific amount to save each week ($5)and I’ve been doing it. Maybe this isn’t much but my income last year wasn’t much over 12,000. It was more but I have 10% going into a 401k before taxes come out. Put over 2,000 into that 401k last year. I started out at 7% and have been increasing it by 1% every 3 to 5 months with the desire to reach 15% by the end of this year. I’m more concerned about having money to live on when I retire than having actual savings today although I want enough savings to handle emergencies like car repairs.
There is no set amount you have to save each year and no formula to figure it out. You decide what is a good amount then go for that and if you end up with more then you’re doing great!
personally, when my thoughts start going to kicking myself for what I didn’t accomplish or get done I’m working hard to switch over to complimenting myself for what I have done. For example, I start getting on myself because I didn’t get the laundry done and my kids and I are nearly out of clean stuff. I start listing what did get done like all of the dishes are clean, I made cookies, fixed a good dinner, found a great new book at the library, finished homework for my college class(es), etc. My ex was always putting me down and I’ve been working on breaking that habit now in myself by focusing on what I have accomplished instead of what didn’t get done. I refuse to trash myself.