I’ve never been good at saving money, but it became especially difficult when I moved to the city. At my lowest point, I was giving a dollar away to a homeless woman every day. It’s embarrassing to admit that I was so frivolous with my money during such a difficult time. But once I started avoiding her completely, I was able to take control of my money and let those dollars add up for things that really matter.
For me, finally avoiding the homeless woman was a big part of me growing up. Before I started saving that money, having nearly $900 in student loans made me feel immature and helpless. But now I can use that extra dollar to chip away at them, day by day. I won’t, because making $1 daily payments would be weird, but knowing that I could is all that matters. Honestly? I think the homeless woman would be happy for me. She has kids. She gets it.
Everything changed once I owned up to the fact that I was putting my personal desire to help another human being over taking responsibility for my own financial situation. I was just giving dollars away like candy—or, in the case of the homeless woman, something higher in protein.
Looking back, I’m mortified at how much free cash I practically threw at the homeless woman. In one week, I’d waste up to $7. And while that kind of money could feed a homeless woman for a single day, it also has the power to change a whole brunch. And since I started saving that money, I can tell you firsthand: five mimosas are definitely better than four.
Of course, avoiding the homeless woman I usually give $1 to isn’t easy. I can no longer walk the 20 minutes to work because I know I’ll pass by her and she’ll expect a dollar. Now a Lyft picks me up at my doorstep every day. Of course, I tip the driver at least $1, but now that I’m avoiding the homeless woman, I can obviously afford it.
Now, in just one year, I’ll have saved $365 and, as a person on a budget, it feels like the opportunities are endless. Just think how much I’ll save when I cancel my monthly Red Cross donations. Or when I stop paying federal taxes. It feels so good to finally be saving for my future!