Do you cringe every time you check the balance of your savings account? If the answer is yes, you’re not alone. According to Bankrate’s Financial Security Index, 27% of Americans have no emergency savings fund, and just 24% of Americans have a savings cushion to cover at least six months of expenses.
Here are five easy steps toward a savings awakening:
1. Assess where your money is going.
Whether you’re looking to build up an emergency savings fund or contribute more to your retirement plan, saving more money starts with self-awareness.
That assessment can be a rude wake-up call to start setting a monthly budget, a move that is difficult at first with the need to get spending under control.
The era of mobile apps and online banking alerts can help you overcome those initial fears. 24/7 online and mobile access and a range of different mobile applications make tracking your spending easy.
2. Eliminate unnecessary spending.
Once you have a budget in place, it’s time to look for opportunities to reduce your overhead costs.
Cutting that spending can rely on small steps, too. The Bankrate lunch savings calculator shows that even something as simple as taking your afternoon meal to work each day rather than eating out, can add up to big savings over time. Consider recurring charges such as your cable or phone bill to determine if there are alternative plans that can trim your expected monthly expenses.
Another way to shrink spending is to alter the way you pay for purchases on your shopping trips. Research conducted by Promothesh Chatterjee, assistant professor of marketing at the University of Kansas School of Business, and Randall Rose, professor of marketing at the University of South Carolina’s Moore School of Business, found that consumers spend less when they use cash rather than credit cards.
3. Set your saving goals.
You can’t get somewhere if you don’t know where you’re going. Your savings goal does not have to be huge.
Come up with a realistic amount that you can easily adjust into your budgeting pattern, and then increase that amount over time – as much as you can.
4. Jump start your savings with extra cash.
As soon as your paycheck arrives, it’s time to save. You can also pay yourself first when unexpected cash flows into your savings account. Also look for opportunities to jump-start a savings plan with tax refunds or year-end bonuses.
5. Give yourself regular check-ups.
Having a healthy savings account is just like maintaining your physical health. Many Americans are failing to keep this scorecard. According to a 2012 survey conducted by the American Institute of CPAs, just 17% of young adults monitor their bank accounts on a daily basis, and 4 out of 10 adults never check their retirement account balances.
Here at First Financial, we encourage our members to come in at least once a year for a financial check-up and sit down with a representative at any one of our branches to make sure you are currently placed in the correct Rewards First tier for you, and also that you are receiving the best value, products, and services based on your financial situation. Give us a call or stop in to see us today!
First Financial also offers free budgeting seminars throughout the year. Keep an eye out for future seminars and register online by visiting our event calendar. You can also receive seminar updates on your mobile phone by texting FFSeminar to 69302.*
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