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I Remember Breaking Past The $10,000 Savings Mark

Published 1/14/08 (Modified 3/8/11)
By MoneyBlueBook

I've had numerous financial milestones in my life, but one still seems to stand out in my relatively young working life. From the time I eventually emerged from under my parent's financial wing to finally working and fending for myself, I still remember when I finally saved and banked that first $10,000. Everything else accumulated after that just seems to pale in significance to that first ten grand.

Crossing the $10,000 Milestone Signified the Mature Transition From Paycheck Living To A Forward Looking, Savings Oriented Lifestyle

During college, I was financially spoiled and completely under my parent's financial protection. Whenever I was low on funds I simply received a parental handout. But as time passed, the funds began to dwindle as my parents started to reinforce the importance of keeping spending habits in check. At the time, my spoiled mentality prevented me from realizing that my parent's growing refusal to give in to all my financial demands was due to their desire to teach me the importance of frugal living. At the time, I was childishly bitter when my handout demands were rejected. Looking back though, I now feel very lucky and grateful to have had parents who had the love and care to teach me important life lessons I would need in the future, as well as the financial means to help partially subsidize my education.

When I graduated and started working for the first time I began to face the harsh financial realities of the real world. My first legal job was a low paying judicial clerk position I took on for resume building purposes. I had always naively thought saving money was a piece of cake and never realized until I started working just how big of a bite Uncle Sam took out of my bi-weekly paychecks through federal, state, and social security taxes. The taxes methodically dwindled my already paltry take home pay down next to nothing.

Starting out, saving money was tremendously difficult and I floundered many times, crossing in and out of credit card debt to keep afloat. I still remember moments when I took on 0% APR balance transfer offers for a few months to make ends meet. Perhaps not necessarily the wisest of approaches but I quickly paid off the credit card principals on my own with some limited assistance from my parents.

It was tough but I longed for the day when I could finally break the magical $10,000 savings mark. At that time I didn't have much of a financial plan, but I knew I wanted to save at least that much. To me, having that tangible and symbolic amount of money at my disposal represented accomplishment and security - at least enough to live on for a few months if all else failed. Eventually I reigned in my irresponsible spending habits, and confidently stormed past that $10,000 milestone. I know it's probably not all that much for most people today, but it was a tremendous confidence booster that set the tone for the rest of my financial future. With that in the bank, I was able to move on up to better housing and away from the crime, roaches, and rats prevalent in the area where I lived and went to school.

Lots Of Important Financial and Life Lessons Learned

Now, several years have passed since I crossed over the symbolic $10,000 mark and I'm still looking to meet many more financial objectives. We all need to set financial goals and checkpoints in our lives. Remember, even those who have a lot of money had to start somewhere. I've come to greatly appreciate every cent I've saved since then and not just because it's money, but because it shows that I've worked hard and practiced fiscal responsibility, centered around a more frugal lifestyle. Cutting the financial umbilical cord was the best thing that ever happened to me. It forced me to mature and prepare for that day down the road when I myself would need to financially take charge of my own family and pass on my financial experience to my own kids.

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22 Responses to “I Remember Breaking Past The $10,000 Savings Mark” 

  1. Lily says:

    Well, it's all fun and games until the market takes a nosedive. Then it'll be back to rice and beans for me! ;)

    Dating does get very expensive. It's easy to say, "Just find someone on the same wavelength as you when it comes to money!" or "There are tons of free date ideas!" But you never want to come off as a cheapskate when there is romance involved. Fortunately, my boyfriend and I got our exciting dates out of the way early, and now we just do Netflix + homecooking.

  2. Norak says:

    "I've worked hard and practiced fiscal responsibility, centered around a more frugal lifestyle. Cutting the financial umbilical cord was the best thing that ever happened to me. It forced me to mature and prepare for that day down the road when I myself would need to financially take charge of my own family and pass on my financial experience to my own kids."

    There's a contradiction in this paragraph.

    At the beginning, you claim you're frugal, and then towards the end you talk about having children.

    One child = $500,000.

  3. Raymond says:

    Norak,
    In regards to having children, I prefer to think of it as investing in a retirement package along the lines of an annuity that will hopefully one day pay off financially. I'm expecting my kid to grow up and one day be the creator of the next Facebook or YouTube. Cha-ching $$$! I am joking of course! :)

  4. sue says:

    I put 10,000 into a CD when I was pregnant with my first child. Again for my 2nd child. Child three is still waiting.
    The reason for this stems from my childhood. I am the youngest of four children. I said to my mom one day, why didn't you put aside $10,000 for each child. She said we would not have as many children. At that point, I had my goal in mind. I might not be able to save much more for them, but I wanted to lock away $10,000 for each child for later in their life. I was thrilled when I was able to actually complete my dream.

  5. JB says:

    This is a timely post. I'm stilll struggling to save the last of my $10,000 goal for my Efund. It's been difficult because I'm just starting out and other wacky, miscellaneous expenses keep coming up but I'm almost there!

    A $10,000 Emergency fund was the amount I decided I needed to have on hand to offset worry about all of the 'what ifs' in life.

  6. SavingDiva says:

    I can't wait until I have $10k in cash saved....I have about $2k right now, so I have a while until I get there!

  7. E.C. says:

    I was pretty exited when I hit $10,000 in savings. It seemed like a significant achievement that would set the foundation for my future. Now, I find it a little harder to set goals; most of the big savings goals like a house and retirement seem almost impossibly far off.

  8. SavingDiva says:

    I have about $500 in my EF...about about another $2k in savings....not even close to the $10k that you hit...

  9. Traciatim says:

    Hey Lily,

    "Well, it's all fun and games until the market takes a nosedive. Then it'll be back to rice and beans for me! "

    How's things going over the past few days?

  10. MMJ says:

    I remember the good old days, before children and the house. We had over 14k in the bank account, but then came the house down payment and the Mrs. left full time work to be a SAHM. We will get there once again. Slowly but surely.

  11. A says:

    I saw this on PaidTwice!

    My Husband and I are in college and although we have a decent amount of cash built up in our savings I know that come May we will be moving, paying for housing and a whole slew of other expenses- not to mention the school loan repayment that will begin aproxamatly November. All excess cash will go there- for a long time! I can't wait till I have 10K in unallocated cash! I am so excited!

  12. Mark @ TheLocoMono says:

    Yes, it can be tough to break that mark. I am curious as to whether if breaking that mark includes retirement funds or just plain ole cash?

    I broke the mark a few years ago before I hit my 30s and it seems like after I broke it, I was able to begin hitting my stride because before I knew it, I started breaking the 20K mark and now closing in on the 30K mark. Pretty soon before this year is over, I should be approaching the 40K mark. It is very exciting and truly motivating.

    Budgeting is what is probably the hardest thing to do because of priorities, needs, and wants but in the end, budgeting is the best way to break the mark.

  13. Raymond says:

    Mark -
    I only included plain old cash in my $10,000 tally since retirement funds are only meant to be unsealed at the time of retirement. Glad you are hitting your financial stride after crossing your milestone as well!

  14. mina says:

    Hi Raymond,

    Thank you for posting this valuable life's lesson to the day shifting and paradigm carnival. We basically have the same life experience, just a bit of twist from yours (smile) but all the way, I find your article encouraging and yes, this will be included in the next post. I'll send you a confirmation once posts were in placed. This is inspiring!

  15. Hassseem says:

    A curse on all infidels, heathens, Crusaders and other non Muslim persons!! allah ahkbar!!
    I have noit savings -- only 300 dinars for to buying a new goat. I am poor Muslim man..allah ahkbar!!
    Please for to send me $$ for tom buy more goats??!! Please!! Just send to Hasseem el-Rafsanjani in Tikrit, Irak, Middle East. Thank you!! allah ahkbar!!

  16. Raymond says:

    Hassseem,

    Please remember to continue taking your meds and stay away from sharp objects. Good luck.

  17. Tim says:

    Raymond,

    Great post. How old where you when you hit the $10,000 mark ?

    Lily,

    this may just be sour grapes... but i can't help but get annoyed at your "my bonuses are well over $10,000" - sounds like you are in the financial industry. The greed of wall street has effected us all horribly over the past year. I wonder how you are fairing now. Part of me hopes that you have fallen from your pedestal, part of me is ashamed for wishing that. I do however suspect you wasted all your money on shiny bobbles.

  18. Raymond says:

    Tim,

    I remember breaking past the $10,000 savings mark, but I don't quite remember exactly the moment when that happened oddly enough. I believe it was sometime after I started working my first real full time job after law school. Thus it was probably around 25 years of age. The years prior to that, I was a full time student and the part time jobs I had during the summers and during the school years did not result in much savings. I had savings from my part time job days but I always quickly squandered them away on frivolous materialistic pursuits.

    It took me quite some time to develop the proper savings mentality and get my financial priorities in order - and those things weren't possible until I cut the proverbial parental financial umbilical cord and started fending for myself after graduate school.

  19. jermonte says:

    $10,000 is a good savings goal. There are rich haters out there who may or may not have struggled before. I reached the $10,000 within 2yrs of my first job after buying a house and having my baby boy. I got the job at 25 and hit the savings goal at 27. I took up daytrading big money on April 5, 2010 before the crash began. I raised $15,000 and used an Interactive Broker account 1:4 leverage. I net 30.7% between April 05, 2010 to June 09, 2010. My largest intra day trade was for transacted on June, 08, 2010 for $1344.77. Now my goal is get to the $25,000 trading account level to be a SEC approved pattern day trader (PDT). Point being numerous landmarks made in a matter of 2 years once I got focused on the big picture. 1) GET MARRIED, 2) Save a down payments for a house, 3) Have a baby, 4) Save 10,000, 5) Get a trading account, 6) Make an intraday trade of $1000, and 7) Get PDT Status and get rich. Gotta stay focused and choose what you want out of life. Instead of fixing my broken down 96 Accord that still continues to have a busted winshield, I stayed focused and put my money where it will stack. Every year a new car hits the scene and when I am finally stacking the big chips, I will get one. GOAL 8) is to place a 100,000 trade and make $2000 intraday. Let's get it.

  20. Ryan says:

    I remember hitting that just a few years ago after college. Felt so great to finally hit five digits. It's amazing how fast it starts growing too if you keep socking away and don't touch your nest egg and just let it compound!

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