Did you know you’re more than twice as likely to make progress toward your savings goals if you have a plan?
America Saves Week is an annual campaign designed to encourage and educate people on the best ways to save and invest.
It encourages Americans to take the America Saves Pledge as a way to commit to your goals and make a plan to achieve them.
Why You Need To Save
Unexpected expenses happen. And if you’ve got luck like mine, it’s likely you’ll get hit with multiple, large unexpected expenses back to back to back.
If you’re struggling with debt or living paycheck to paycheck, your current emergency plan is probably to put unexpected expenses on a credit card.
While this may be ok as a last resort, it’s a much better plan to start saving now, knowing these type of expenses are inevitable.
How To Get Started Saving
The best way to deal with these unhappy surprises is to plan for them.
It doesn’t sound glamorous and it’s not always easy, but building up your savings fund will help you handle these expenses in the future.
There are a few steps to doing this:
1 – Set Up a Separate Savings Account
Keeping your savings separate from your checking will help you avoid spending it accidentally.
If you’ve got a solid budgeting habit and look at your category or envelope balances instead of at your bank account balance to see how much you can spend, this may not be a concern.
But even if you’re an expert budgeter, separating your savings is still a great idea.
Put those dollars in a high-interest account and have them earn something while they’re sitting around waiting to do their job.
2 – Start With Small Savings Goals
When you’re living paycheck to paycheck or barely covering the bills it can seem like an impossible task to save enough money for an emergency.
Instead of starting off with the goal to save an entire month’s income or something equally challenging, break it down into smaller chunks to help you build momentum and stay motivated.
You might even try brainstorming the most likely unexpected expense that could come up and start saving for that.
Think your car might need new tires or repairs soon?
Shoot for saving up a couple of hundred dollars over the next few months then work up from there.
I like to brainstorm what unexpected expenses might pop up and create separate savings goals or sinking funds for them.
I had a habit of pulling money out of our emergency fund for non-emergency spending so breaking it out into specific savings goals works better for me.
If you’ve got more discipline than me, building up a hefty emergency fund may work. But if you think you may tap into it for non-emergencies, consider breaking it up into sinking funds.
Eventually, you’ll want to have a 3-6 month cushion, but that can take a long time to achieve, so make small goals that get progressively larger and try to be patient.
3 – Get creative and find ways to save
It will take time to build up a savings fund that can cover your expenses for an extended period.
But there are lots of ways you can save now to work on building up an emergency fund. This can at least help cover any unexpected expenses that pop up as you’re still growing your savings.
Some quick ways to save are:
- pack your lunches
- cut back on eating out
- call your subscription services (tv, internet, etc) to negotiate a better rate or cancel altogether
- create meal plans and shop online to reduce your grocery expenses
If you’ve cut back as much as you can or are already pretty frugal, you can try to earn more by picking up or creating a side hustle (like dog walking or housesitting).
You can also try to save when you spend. Coupons and cash back apps are a great way to add a little more to your savings and they can add up pretty quickly.
Time To Make Your Plan
If you’re ready to break free from debt, save up an emergency fund, or invest in your future, head over to the America Saves website and take the pledge!
Getting started is easy. Just choose your savings goal, the amount you want to save and the length of time you want to give yourself to hit that goal.
After you’ve created your savings plan, America Saves will send you periodic messages of encouragement and information to help keep you motivated and on track to hit your goal.
Need An Extra Push?
It’s hard to change your habits and it can be tempting to turn a blind eye to your financial struggles.
So if you need some extra incentive to take the pledge and create your savings plan, maybe the #ImSavingForSweepstakes* will give you that extra little nudge.
Just by taking the America Saves Pledge, you’ll be entered to win $500!
Take it a step forward and share your goal on social media for a chance to win $750!
*No Purchase Necessary. Sweepstakes starts 2/20/19 and ends 4/30/19. See Official Rules.
Join Me In Taking The America Saves Pledge!
You probably already know you should be saving and hopefully, you’ve got some ideas of what you’d like to save for.
Join me and sign the pledge to get some help and accountability along the way.
I’ve committed to saving $500 a month for the rest of the year so we can build up our 3-6 month emergency fund. It’ll be a stretch, but with a little focus, I’m confident we can do it.
How about you? What are you committed to saving for?
Leave a comment or shoot me a message to let me know if you sign the pledge!