KristiLyn Wilkinson, M.S.
Empowering Financial Wellness Program Manager
Since 2007, America Saves Week has been an annual celebration. It is held the last week of February, and it focuses on helping people save more money. Who doesn’t want to have more money in savings? I certainly do, but it can be daunting to get started. If you would like to learn more about American Saves, you can check out their website at Americasaves.org. This is a great website where you can set savings goals and sign up to get email and text reminders to help keep you on track. Each day during America Saves Week they will be focusing on these different aspects of savings!
Save Automatically- This is the secret sauce to financial success. Automatically having your money direct deposited from your paycheck into a savings account increases your chances of saving by 100%. And if the money is out of sight out of mind you are less likely to withdraw that money for random purchases. The book, The Automatic Millionaire by David Bach is a good read for anyone who wants to learn how to become, well, an automatic millionaire! If you don’t have automatic savings set up, doing this is a great first step.
Save for the Unexpected- AKA have an emergency fund. The thing about emergencies is we don’t know that they are going to happen. They can be large, potentially devastating, and very stressful. I love the phrasing, “save for the unexpected” over “save for an emergency” because if you have money set aside for the unexpected, it feels like less of an emergency (remember that devastating stress?) and more of something that needs to be taken care of, but luckily you have the money to fix the problem. Take the automatic savings you just set up, and squirrel some of that away for large, unexpected expenses.
Save to Retire-We spend most of our lives working in order to pay other people for our house, food, cars, entertainment, etc. Putting yourself first and saving money for your future preservation and happiness sounds like a great idea if there ever was one! An expert tip is to set up your retirement contributions to be a certain percent of your income. That way as your income increases, so does that amount you are contributing to retirement without you even noticing.
Save by Reducing Debt- I mentioned earlier that automating savings is the secret sauce for financial success. Reducing your debt is definitely the cherry on the top. Paying down debt frees up money that was going towards interest (side note-when you PAY interest, you benefit nothing from that transaction). The money you were using to pay off the principle and interest of your debt can now be put into savings. I don’t know about you, but I would much rather be saving money for a family vacation than paying off credit card debt.
Save as a Family- Lastly, make it a family affair. Talking to your kids about money and empowering them to make good financial decisions is not something you will ever regret. I pinkie promise. No parent ever has said, “I taught my children to save too much money.” Actually, Ebeneezer Scrooge’s parents might have been saying that in their graves, but you get the point. Setting a goal as a family to save for something fun that you all want to do together can create a lasting impact on your child. Even if you don’t have children and it is just you and a significant other, setting goals together can help you achieve financial success, have fun together as a family, and give you built in accountability to reach your goals.
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