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By: Emily J. Degen
Secret “Fun” Fund
Many of us find ourselves in need of something we don’t have the cash for, but what about having extra money for something we just want?
My 4 sisters and I all live hours apart from each other so we try to get together at least twice a year. We call it “Freedom Weekend” or “FW” for short. Free of husbands, children and adulting for what seems like the shortest 2 days ever (worth it!). Sounds important, doesn’t it? It is!!! Everyone should have one if you ask me!
When we first started doing this many years ago, I always found myself scraping at the last minute to get some “fun” cash put together. Being the 2nd youngest and a first-time homeowner, I was learning how to become financially responsible. I felt like my money was always spoken for. I had not quite built up a savings account or had a stash of cash laying around I could use for well, no reason, like my older sisters might.
Somehow, I always managed to pull just enough together for gas, food, and my contribution to lodging. However, I was always the one holding back from going on those little shopping sprees us gals love to do. After the 2nd trip, I realized I had to figure something out. These get-togethers mattered to me, a lot! Worrying about my spending cap and not fully enjoying the experience put a damper on my Freedom Weekends and it was annoying, to say the least.
So, I started a savings account and it worked well! For about a month. Then I found myself transferring my FW money into my checking account for random things that came up. This cycle went on for a few months and it was frustrating. I had realized that I could not save this money when I could see it just sitting there. I needed this to be an out-of-site out-of-mind matter. I searched online for a local bank/credit union as far away from where I lived and worked as possible.
I picked one, walked in and opened a new savings account. Immediately, I set up automatic payroll deductions from my direct deposit that would transfer straight into my new savings. I started with an amount every pay period that I was comfortable with. I would not even see it come out of my check! When the teller said he would get me an ATM card I stopped him. I didn’t want one!
I had finally opened my FW account. I eliminated any kind of quick or easy access to this money by being far enough away I would not want to drive there, and by not having an ATM card. I purposely never signed up for their online banking, either.
Soon, I almost forgot about the account all together. When I started going on those Freedom Weekends after that, I was comfortable. I was the one excited to go shopping and was having worry-free fun! Twelve years later I still practice this secret savings account. It has made a world of difference not only for my Freedom Weekend trips, but in case of an emergency, it works quite well, too!
I encourage you to start your own secret savings if you don’t have one already. . . and I dare you to begin your own style of Freedom Weekend.