The saving habit is one of the best habits you can cultivate to enjoy long-term financial success. Savings help you set up an emergency fund, help you put aside money for big (and smart) financial investments, and help you enjoy money in the bank. Having “extra” money in the bank is a great feeling, and knowing that you have savings set aside helps you feel better about your finances.
The biggest myth about savings is that you need to be making more money to save. In fact, many people who don’t save claim that it is because they just don’t have enough. Even if you are living paycheck to paycheck and paying down big personal bad credit loan in Minnesota, there are still plenty of ways to save money each month:
1) Cancel a subscription or service you don’t need and put the difference into your savings account. Even $50 a month every month will start to make a difference over time. Every little bit helps.
2) Ask for a raise and have the difference in your paycheck automatically taken out of your account and put into a savings account.
3) Develop a budget and pay yourself first. Before you decide how much you will spend on other things, write down how much you will spend on savings. You then can just adjust the amount of money you spend on other things (such as dining out).
4) Save your pocket change at the end of the day and take it into your bank once a week or once a month. You won’t even miss this money, but it can help build a nice emergency fund or can help you pay off some personal loans.
Many people don’t save because it seems too hard to do so; spending money is just so much easier. Part of the secret to success, though, is making saving so easy that you don’t even have to think about it. Here’s how:
– Automatic savings from your paycheck. If you get your employer to deduct a certain percentage of your paycheck (such as 10%) and place it into savings or a retirement fund, you won’t even miss the money and you’ll be making regular contributions to your savings account. Ask your employer if they can do this.
– Debit cards with automatic savings. Some banks have special accounts which allow you to save each time you use your debit card. It works like this: each time you pay with a debit card, your purchase is rounded up to the nearest dollar (or the nearest five dollars, if you wish) and this difference is placed in your savings. Again, this is money you won’t miss and it can really add up to a nice savings account you can use for retirement or to pay off unsecured loans.
– Automatic account withdrawal. Any bank will withdraw a specific amount of money if you ask them to and place this amount in a savings or investment account. The money is automatically taken out, so there is no temptation to spend it somewhere else. You can even do this with your personal loans: have the bank automatically make payments on your personal loans so that you don’t forget or spend the money another way.
– Check out our savings guide which will help you free up more cash to put aside.
One reason why people don’t save is because they don’t see the point of it. Retirement seems far away, emergencies seem unlikely, and those after-Holiday sales are beckoning. If you don’t see the point of saving, it could be because you don’t have specific saving goals. Savings aren’t just for emergencies or far-off retirement. You can use savings to buy what you have always wanted.
The trick is this: don’t see savings as money you no longer have access to but rather see it as getting you closer to the life you want. Then, get three savings accounts. One will be your emergency fund. You will put one-third of your savings here and keep it there until there is a real emergency (such as a loss of job or a medical emergency). Keep putting in money into this account until you have at least 6 months of income in there. After that, every 12 months or so, remove half of your money from this account and put it in your long-term account. Then keep saving. Your long-term account, by the way, is the savings account where you will keep money for long-term goals – such as retirement, paying off your personal debts, and so forth. At least half of this you will want to invest for retirement. The other half should go towards debt-free living and getting of those personal loans with bad credit. The final savings account is your fun account – here is the money you will use for medium-range goals (such as a new boat or a great new suit). Just remember not to pick this account dry all the time. Splurge on two or three big purchases that make you feel amazing each year.
Look for savings accounts that offer few or no fees. Some banks now offer online accounts that include no fees unless you withdraw money. This is a great idea, as it encourages you to keep your money in your savings accounts.