• Gill Reed

I Saved My First $10,000

Updated: Apr 17, 2020

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

A year ago I set a goal to save $10,000 by the time I graduated from college. And last week, I accomplished it. 

To be honest, I never thought I could do it. I thought I was doomed financially because of my past with money, but I proved myself wrong. 

Saving $10,000 can mean different things to different people. To some, it may seem like nothing. To others, it’s an achievement they can only dream of. For me, it was an ambitious goal. And if it means something to you, I’m going to share how a 22-year-old college student saved her first $10,000 and how you can do the same. 

The Background

My relationship with money has always been an odd one. My parents divorced when I was in fourth grade and frequently fought about child support. More times than not, they used me as their channel of communication with each other. 

“Tell your dad I need the child support check by Thursday,” my mom would say as I was packing to stay with my dad for the weekend. 

“Tell your mom to quit bugging me and I’ll get it to her when I have it,” my dad would tell me as I headed back to my mom’s house. Often my parents would tell my brother and me how much they wished they were able to buy us more stuff or take us on more trips. They wanted to do more but could only do what their finances allowed them to. 

I took on a lot of the financial stress my parents had because I was in the middle of it so often. But they raised me to be independent and capable of making my own living. Before I could drive I had to save six months of car insurance. When I could drive, I had to pay for gas and anything else I wanted. I started working at 15 and by the time I was a sophomore in college, I was working three jobs. 

I wanted to make money and I was tired of being stressed out about it because of my parents. I was irresponsible with money for a while, though. On top of the monthly bills and student loans I was paying, I was also an emotional spender — I bought things to make myself feel better. 

But once I matured and set my goal to save $10,000 by college graduation I knew I had to get my finances together if I wanted to live the life I have always dreamed of.

The How

The steps I followed are some of the easiest steps you might ever follow when it comes to saving money. I saved $10,000 in one year working a $12/hour job while paying rent and car bills and still living life outside of school. I'm confident you can set any financial goal and reach it with these simple steps. 

Step 1: Pay yourself first

It’s the oldest trick in the book and guess what? It works.

To learn more about this concept, I read The Richest Man in Babylon by George Clason. Through collections of stories from 8,000 years ago, this book dispenses financial advice and explains why you should put back a certain portion of your earnings to gain the financial freedom you are searching for. 

Every time I receive a paycheck or any form of income, I put back at least 10 percent into my savings account. Some days I’m able to save a little more and some days a lot more but never the less. No matter what, I always pay myself at least 10 percent.

Step 2: Stop buying things you don’t need

This was easily the hardest pill to swallow for me. It’s still a battle some days too, but that’s part of the process. 

We live in a world where everyone wants to show off. To be successful, we think we need the Gucci belt, the Yeezy’s and maybe the Range Rover too. I’m guilty of it. I want to look good. I want to have nice things. But you have to draw the line for yourself. A lot of that desire is only going to satisfy you temporarily and bring you false gratification.

Don’t fall into the trap. 

Don’t put pressure on yourself to live a Kardashian lifestyle when your bank account is more like MC Hammer.

There are days I want to splurge on new outfits. I want new makeup. I want new workout clothes. I want new decorations for my house. I want a lot of things to satisfy my emotional needs. 

But I don’t need them.

Brands are wired to target our self-worth and status in the world. Because of this, it's hard to recognize when you are buying something because you want it, or buying it because you need it. It’s possible though. It’s possible to live below your means until the day you can live at any means you wish.

Look at it as a fun story you’ll be able to tell people when you’re older. You can tell them about the closet-sized apartment you rented in your 20s while you built your business. You can tell them about how you wore the same outfit every time you went out with your friends and how no one ever noticed. You can live with a lot less and be just as happy when you change your perspective about your buying habits.

If you’re serious about saving money and setting long-term goals, you’ll understand that buying what you need is, well, all you need. 

The End

It’s been my goal to save $10,000 for quite some time. Looking at my savings account and seeing those 4 zeros makes me feel invincible.

If you have a goal, no matter how big or small, you should do everything in your power to reach it. 

Unfortunately, the world is in the middle of a pandemic right now and the odds I have to start using my savings to pay bills are getting a little higher each day. But control what you can control.

I know I’ll be able to save $10,000 again if I need to. And then $100,000, and then $1,000,00. I don’t plan on stopping here, and neither should you. 

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