Since 2007, the nonprofit organization Consumer Federation of America has been sponsoring the annual America Saves campaign with a goal of educating individuals and families about the importance of saving while offering tips and tricks to help make it easy. This year, it’s all about ways to increase your savings without increasing stress. DCU encourages our members to think about their savings goals and ways to step up their savings during America Saves Week, February 24-29, 2020. Read on for some easy saving strategies you can incorporate into your daily life.
For many people, automatically putting money into a savings account becomes a way to increase their savings without feeling pinched. Are you expecting a raise, bonus, or tax refund? Ask your employer, credit union, or tax preparer if you can use direct deposit to move the extra income straight to your savings account.
The first step to take when looking to reach a savings goal is to make a plan. Creating a budget is very important so you can understand where you spend your money before trying to figure out where you can save it. For a month, track your spending. Then sit down and look at what is a need vs. a want. From there, you can make educated decisions on an amount of money you can put aside each month in a savings account. For example, you might be able to cut back on entertainment or eating out, or you might contact your cable provider for a lower-cost plan.
We’ve all heard that life happens when we least expect it. Saving to make sure you are prepared when the unexpected occurs can help you to recover and rebound if something were to happen with your house, car, or health that strains your budget. Start small, but aim to build up an emergency savings account that is equal to six months of your outgoing expenses to ensure you have a financial cushion that can help cover unexpected costs.
It’s important to start saving for retirement as early as possible, but sometimes life gets in the way. Wherever you are in your retirement planning, make sure you utilize your employer-sponsored retirement plan if available, and take advantage of any employer match that they offer. If you get a raise or extra money, consider adding a percentage of that to your retirement savings. If an employer-sponsored plan isn’t available, look into Individual Retirement Account (IRA) options at your credit union or bank. Consider meeting with a financial planner to discuss your retirement goals and a savings plan that can help you reach them.
In order to enjoy good financial health, one rule of thumb is to keep your credit utilization – or percentage of debt you are using based off available credit – to less than 30%. If you keep your debt lower, you will be considered more positively when applying for a loan and would have more money available to cover an unexpected expense. Consider paying your debt down to avoid making a monthly interest payment to your credit card company, you can deposit that amount into a savings account to pay yourself.
Not only is saving as a family a fun way to spend quality time together, it also helps to educate your children about the importance of spending income responsibly. As they get older, they will be able to better plan for their own futures, and appreciate the work it takes to achieve their wants and needs. You might consider saving coins in a container that you can take together to redeem at a change machine and then deposit into a savings account.
DCU wants to help you save during America Saves Week … and beyond! Learn More