Save early, save often – sounds easy, feels hard. But building up your savings account, whether it’s for a rainy day or a sunny vacation, is right up there with reducing debt when it comes to taking control of your finances.
We all make mistakes when it comes to managing money. Stuff happens. But dwelling on the past won’t get you where you want to go. Instead, empower yourself to navigate common money problems, so you can move forward instead of looking back.
When it comes to paying off debt and building a savings, there can be so much coming at you that it can be hard to figure out what deserves your attention. These simple do’s and don’ts easily lay out what you can do to help get your savings where you want it.
Start racking up your savings with these easy ways to save money:
DO PULL PAYMENT DOUBLE DUTY
It’s tempting to overspend when credit cards provide instant gratification and allow you to delay the consequences until next month. But this can lower your credit score, which can hurt you in the long run by making it harder when you want to apply for a mortgage or auto loan. One way to tackle debt faster is to make payments every two weeks, each totaling half your monthly payment, instead of just one payment per month. This method allows you to reduce the amount owed on a credit card at a faster rate and reduce the interest that otherwise would have added up. Need help making the math work? Check out these monthly budget tips.
DO GIVE YOURSELF AN EMERGENCY CUSHION
Emergencies are bound to happen — it’s just a matter of when. Not having an emergency fund can leave you in a tough financial situation in the event of a job loss or unexpected healthcare expense. Set up an automatic savings deposit into an emergency fund from your paycheck now. That way, you’ll be building up a cushion of savings without even thinking about it. When the time comes to use the money you put aside, you’ll be able to focus on addressing the issue without the added stress of worrying about money on top of everything else. Thanks, past self!
DON’T KEEP ALL YOUR EGGS IN ONE BASKET
Many people put their money in a savings account and then just let it sit there, but you could actually be losing out on money if you do it this way. Once you’ve set aside a nice chunk of change, diversify your savings by putting some money into a Money Market Account or Summit Certificate. The higher interest rates that come with these accounts can help you earn more money faster, without the risks of investing in the stock market. High return + low risk = the best of both worlds!
DON’T WAIT TO SAVE FOR YOUR FUTURE
If you have an employer-sponsored retirement plan, start by putting in at least as much as your employer will match (employer match = free money!). Then, challenge yourself to increase your contribution by 1 percent any time you get a raise. Keep in mind that the road to career success isn’t always a straight line, so make sure to take money in your retirement fund with you when you move on to a new employer. You can also open an individual retirement account (IRA) to save even more money on your own. This is a great option if your job doesn’t offer retirement benefits.
DO TELL THEM WHAT’S IN YOUR WALLET
Talking about money with your partner can feel taboo, but in reality, approaching these conversations with honesty, patience and empathy can take strain off your relationship and allow you to further your goals as a team. Unfortunately, talking about money can have even more stigma for women, but money is too important not to talk about. If you need support, schedule an appointment with a Summit financial expert, so you can ask questions in a no-judgment zone. Your financial literacy will only improve with each step you take.
We’ve helped lots of people develop their saving skills, and we can help you too. It starts with some simple tips, like the ones in this video. Check it out:
- Make saving a habit by saving automatically with auto-withdrawal every time you get money or receive a paycheck
- Save for a specific financial goal (e.g., a house, a vacation, an emergency fund)
- Consider switching your savings to a money market account or a certificate to earn a higher interest rate
With little changes like these, you can really start to build up your savings without feeling like you're making a lifestyle sacrifice. Continue to be mindful of the smaller ways to save, and you can surprise yourself by how fast you can achieve your financial goals. Want to talk it over with an expert? Schedule an appointment with a Summit financial expert.