After starting with Island Savings as a student employee in 2002, Brooklyn Mann has made her way up and is now the branch manager for our Lake Cowichan branch. We caught up with Brooklyn and she shared with us some insights on how she saves in her day-to-day.
What is your number one savings tip?
Be clear on your budget and stick to it! I love helping members come up with a budget so that they can meet their goals.
What are some of the goals you're saving for now and how are you saving towards those?
Well, we just bought our forever home and that was a pretty big goal. We often put money where it is “out of sight, out of mind” so term deposits for short term are my go-to.
For our retirement, even though it is a long way off, we keep it top of mind and meet with our advisor annually to ensure we are on track for what we envision. We're looking for higher return on those so we use mutual funds.
Related reading: The Complete Guide to Term Deposits
What are some of the processes you’ve automated?
I use BIGChange as an easy way to add up some savings. I also have an automatic transfer to a savings account for things like my property taxes and I run bills through my Island Savings Mastercard credit card to earn points.
How do you save for a vacation or a large purchase?
We use a mental “measuring stick” for our purchases, dining and entertaining. Before going out or buying something, we ask ourselves if we like it as much as if we were to put the funds towards travel. This means we don’t prioritize constant dining out or entertainment (although two children that don’t like to sit still also factors in!).
We also use our tax returns and bonuses as additional funds and do not put them into our budget so that they go towards our trips.
What would you do with an additional influx of cash?
We subdivided and sold a lot recently. With that we were able to use it as the down payment for our new home.
When we have money that has not been designated to something already I use it to top up our RRSPs. I have a clear idea of what I want retirement to look like and I want to make sure that our long-term priorities are balanced with our short-term desires.
Do you have term deposits in your savings plan? What do you look for in a term deposit and how do you use them?
I like term deposits for short term or flexibility if I feel the funds may need to be used at some point. I have our market-linked term and also a cashable one that housed our down payment for the new home as we were not sure what our next steps or plans were after subdividing.
How did you first start saving?
To be honest, the first time we ever did a budget and started saving was when I had my first child and was off on maternity leave. My husband also was off and we realized quickly we needed to make some changes.
We started the envelope system (where we put so much money for the month in differently labelled envelopes marked “Groceries, Gas” etc.). Any leftover money went into a cashable term.
What I learned from that was that even when things were the tightest we managed to save more than we had been at full incomes. It always starts with a need, goal or some great advice!
Is there a habit that you changed that transformed the way you started saving?
We stopped eating out. We set a limit to how many times per month we would eat out and what amount we were willing to put into it.
I had a young member in Salt Spring when I worked there that wanted a small line of credit. He had a great job but I was not able to help him with that need. A big part of the reason is he ate out almost every day. What we did instead was we created a budget. When I asked about eating out , we came up with a reasonable amount per week and showed what that meant in terms of savings. It connected for him and from there he stuck to the rest of the budget. He came in six months later and qualified for a mortgage and had enough saved for a down payment!
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