From Spending on Pizza to Saving for Rent
I started college with over $2,000 in my savings account. The product of eighteen years of birthdays and Christmases had left me with a sizable hunk of cash that I was proud of. The problem with this savings account was that I spent almost all of it over the course of my freshman year. By May of 2016, I had a measly $200 left in what used to be a promising garden of money trees. It was embarassing and really discouraging to know that I had truly spent myself dry on late-night grub and floral dresses from stores I shouldn't have been able to afford. I like to think it was a time I spent exploring and discovering what it meant to be "independent." I didn't have a job and didn't like asking my parents for money, so I justified that by blowing through two grand over the span of 9 months.
Cut to two years later, I'm a junior with a fellowship and two jobs that pay me enough to sustain my affinity for ramen and pizza. My savings account now lies in the digital world of Rize, where $200 a month are pulled out of my checking account and placed in a reservoir titled "senior year rent fund."
I, like most other kids trying to live in the pseudo-reality that college is, will be spending my senior year in an overpacked, probably termite-infested but incredibly entertaining and extraordinary house with six friends and a monthly rent plus utilities balance. My logic is that by saving today for my living expenses, I can focus on other things that need my attention--like summer internship applications. Rize's platform is what makes this possible in the first place.
All I did was schedule a withdrawal on the 5th of each month, a few days after I get my paychecks. Rize concierge pulls the money out for me and deposits it into my "senior year rent fund" account and it sits there until I'm ready to do something with it. This way, the first transaction of every month is a payment to myself. My goal, whose completion I automated with Rize, is being actualized thanks to a small effort I made a few weeks ago.
I think a big part of mastering personal finance is the idea of intention. Money to me during that first year was merely cash. There was no long-term goal I had in mind, no intention to do anything specific with that two grand. With Rize, I've been able to challenge this ambivalence by assigning intent--the intent to save enough to make rent for the first 6 months of our lease, for example. I'm happy to report I've saved almost $2,000 towards this goal and I'm even happier to report that I'm earning 1.16% interest on that. All it took was a moment of introspection and a few clicks on my MacBook...