Saving money is hard. Believe me, I know! But without adequate savings, we can’t cover emergencies like major car repairs or fixing a leaky roof. Not only will savings be there when you need it, but cash on hand can eliminate the awful stress from wondering where the money will come from when something goes wrong. My goal today is to identify small steps you can take to fund ongoing savings since a safety net never goes out of style.
Identify your savings goals
For example, saving for emergencies should be your first priority. Without a rainy day fund, you will be financially vulnerable. You need a realistic plan to reach any financial goal so figure out why you are saving, and how much money you need.
Make your savings automatic
Talk with your payroll department about setting up automatic deposits to your savings account each paycheck. Designate a certain amount that you know is affordable. Even $30 a month reinforces a positive saving habit and the discipline needed to reach your savings goals.
If your paychecks are not automatically deposited, then deposit money in your savings account as soon as you get paid or you cash your paycheck. That way you won’t spend the money on something else before it goes to savings.
Save cash windfalls
Extra money like tax refunds, 3rd monthly paychecks, and pay raises can boost your savings to reach your goal more quickly. So you don’t feel deprived, use a portion of each windfall for savings, but also splurge a little with some of the money. After all, you deserve a reward for doing the right thing!
A good example of a windfall is your income tax refund. If you can’t save part of your refund because you’re too tempted by that big screen TV, lower your tax withholdings to reduce your refund but maximize the money in your paychecks. Then dedicate the extra money in your checks to your automatic savings. Be sure to talk with your tax advisor or visit www.irs.gov to calculate the correct withholdings so you don’t owe taxes at the end of the year.
Look at ways to increase savings
Clean out your closets, garage, and basement and have an old fashioned garage sale. Or, sell unused items on eBay or craigslist. Another option for more cash is to cut back on luxury items like cable TV, entertainment, expensive cell phone plans, or eating out. Allocate that money to savings and watch your balance grow!
By all means, leave your savings alone! If you have a true emergency, the money will be there to cover the crisis. Otherwise, don’t touch your savings or you’ll never see any progress. And without progress, you may give up on savings all altogether which will likely put you right back where you never wanted to be again.
Give us a call
Are you ready to take the first step towards ending financial chaos? We can help. Give us a call at 888.577.2227 or visit our website at www.ConquerYourDebt.org. We can connect with you in-person, over the phone or online. You pick what works for you. Appointments are free and there is no pressure to do anything. We are here to help you gain control and move forward.
By Barb Miller