Saving tips can almost be as fun as spending them (really!)
Servers and bartenders always have cash in hand. Once they complete their shifts and do their cash out, they often leave work with money in their pockets. Funny thing is, by the time some get home each night (or early morning), very little is left. Where did it go?
An issue that many tip-earning people face is poor money management. As industry staff, many of us tend to go out a lot and spend our money on entertainment at restaurants, bars, and nightclubs. Given that our friends with “regular” schedules are usually already in bed, industry people tend to socialize together when we get the chance – which is often later in the evening after work. What better way to unwind after a long and busy shift than with a couple of drinks with coworkers? But, aside from a great night, some funny stories, and maybe a slight headache, what do we have to show for all of our hard work?
As old as this sounds, a little money management can go a long way and it all starts with saving those tips.
Mo Money, Mo Problems
Cash made quickly through tips can be spent even faster. For some in our industry, having all that money in their pockets makes them stay out longer, drink more, and party harder. This, of course, leads to other problems like loss of sleep, increased susceptibility to colds and flu, and even missing shifts.
This phenomenon can be boiled down to short-term versus long term thinking. You’re off shift with lots of cash, the party’s going and you’re having a great time. Of course, to keep it going, you have to keep spending. With no plans for the next morning nor longer term plans to save for, individuals need only concern themselves with the next person to talk to, the next round of drinks, or the next bar to hit. Naturally, this kind of lifestyle doesn’t lend itself to a full bank account.
So, how do you break this spending cycle? Here are a few recommends for saving tips:
I. Set a savings goal and stick to it
First, ask yourself these questions:
- What do I want to do in 1/3/6/12 months? (travel? go to school? buy a car? get a new place?)
- Why is this important to me?
- How will it feel once I have saved enough to accomplish what I want to do?
- How great will it be to actually do what I’ve saved to do?
II. Get that cash out of your wallet ASAP
It’s 11pm and you’re off shift with your tips in your pocket. Before heading out for some post-work drinks, drop by the nearest ATM and deposit a set percentage of your tips; I recommend 25-50%. If you can’t hit an ATM, leave the money in another jacket or lock it up at work. Putting some distance between you and your cash will help you spend less on a whim and allow you to make saving/spending decisions the next day with better perspective. Just make sure that you don’t spend more than what you’re carrying in cash (and that means avoiding those credit cards)!
III. Limit yourself to a certain number of nights out after work
And finally, if you usually go out after four shifts, make it three or even two. You’ll be surprised how much you’ll save by staying in just one night extra.
That’s it! Once you have a savings goal that means something to you and you employ the recommendations above, limiting your spending is much easier and you’ll actually be proud of yourself as you watch your savings pile up.
Have any more tips for the big spenders among us? Leave them in the comments and help others out!
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