Money - it matters! Do you feel like you just can't get ahead with saving? Start with small steps and you'll get there!
Ahh, payday! Now you can pay those bills – the mortgage or rent, utilities, food, phones, and oh yeah – Bobby needs braces, Billy wants to play soccer, and Beth wants to play volleyball. Hmm. Well, there goes putting money into the savings account. Do you ever feel like you just can’t get ahead?
Sometimes we live in the present and don’t prepare for the future. But the future comes, whether we are ready or not. Four new tires, a filling for that cavity, a birthday party, etc. can all bust your budget, if you even have one!
Where do you start? Everyone needs an emergency savings fund. Most experts recommend saving up between 3 and 6 months of living expenses. You may be thinking, “I’ll never have that much! Why bother?!” Start somewhere – anywhere! Even $100 is better than nothing. Saving up $1000 may be a huge deal, so celebrate the milestone! Take that small step towards a bigger goal. If you have savings, you may not need to use credit (which will cost you more).
If you need some extra motivation, America Saves can help! Make a pledge to save and get encouragement and support from other savers from the America Saves pledge.
How? Make your savings a priority. When I joined the credit union with our organization, I used the payroll deduction. I didn’t really miss the money that went directly into my savings, and I wasn’t tempted to spend it! Payroll deduction was easy and effective for building my savings.
- Set goals. You’re more likely to save for something specific than just for general savings. Set a goal for your emergency fund and then work towards it.
- Pay yourself first! Make your savings a bill to pay (that’s why direct deposit is so nice) or use payroll deductions.
- Save “Bonus” income – tax refunds, overtime pay, gift money, etc.
- Pay installments to yourself. Once you pay off an installment loan (and if other loans are not overdue), continue to make payments to your savings account.
- Collect loose change.
- Break a habit. Every time you don’t spend money at the vending machine, save the money your didn’t spend.
- Save your lunch money! Get up a little earlier and make your lunch. Plan on leftovers for lunch.
- Need more ideas? Come to Sip & Save – a women’s money discussion group on November 14 at noon. We’ll meet over at Harding University in the Brackett Library Terrill Room. Bring your lunch or a cup of coffee/tea and join the discussion!
Once you have your emergency fund, then start thinking about retirement. If you aren’t taking full advantage of a employer provided retirement plan, work towards fully funding that. Or save up and put money into a IRA.
Next, save for future goals such as a special vacation, a new car, a college education, or a home. Create a plan to make your financial dreams come true.
Small steps may not seem worth it. But in the long run, those small steps add up!
Another small step you can take, if you haven’t already, is to sign up for Small Steps to Healthy Habits at this link. You’ll also take a survey to help you see where you are on the journey to better living.