The Winner of the July Call to Action!

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FAV Andrea-M-Music-21-of-25-X3This July at LearnVest, we celebrated National Savings Month. And we covered everything—from Millennials’ savings habits to how to use short-term thinking to accomplish long-term goals. We also featured personal stories, like one woman whose penny-pinching went a little too far, plus expert tips about why we should never forget to pay ourselves first.

At the beginning of the month, we asked our readers about their top savings successes. Our July Call to Action question: What’s the most you’ve ever saved for one goal—and how’d you do it?

We enjoyed reading more than 60 thoughtful responses—from the couple that saved up enough to move across the country to the reader who stashed away enough cash to go to a friend’s wedding in Europe (and buy a car, to boot!). Thank you to everyone who shared!

And congratulations to the winner of the July Call to Action, who will receive $100 to help her achieve her financial goals: Andrea Malkowski, a 26-year-old personal trainer and community intern at Lose It! in Boston, Mass.

Below, check out how Andrea saved $10,000 to achieve her lifelong goal of recording a CD.

“I saved $10,000 for my #1 bucket list item: record a CD.

“I’ve been composing since pre-K. Top family hits included ‘Love You On the Moon’ and ‘Sittin’ On the Toilet.’ After graduating from college with a degree in music and psychology, I ran into an old connection of mine, which sparked my decision to fulfill my dream. He ended up being the manager of my future studio.

“From reading about others’ experiences online, I knew that recording a very inexpensive album costs about $3,000. Because I wanted a much better quality of sound, plus I would be quitting my job in Washington, D.C., to move to Philadelphia, I knew I would need more than that. I decided on $10,000 and immediately ramped up my savings strategy.

“I’m typically conservative about finances, so I didn’t feel too much of a burden. I made my lunches—but always offered to walk to pick up food with my co-workers, in order to not miss out on opportunities to socialize. I stopped going out for those ‘every so often’ drinks that really add up. I always pay off my credit card (I never spend more than what I have in my account), so I tried to use it frequently and collect points and cash-back deals.

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“My family and friends helped out by letting me stay with them for a summer while I recorded at the studio. I’m very grateful that I was able to live rent-free for that period.

“I might have missed out on a couple dinners out, trips to the amusement park and a beer here and there. In the end, I wouldn’t have changed one thing. Having experiences that I think about every day and a legacy that I’m incredibly proud of is so worth it. I don’t miss a single cent that I put into recording my music.”

Thanks for sharing, Andrea!