Your Money: Building Your Savings

Having a savings account can serve many uses. It can offer a cushion by way of emergency savings. It can help you put money aside for periodic but irregular bills, such as heating oil. Or it can help you save up for an expected future expense, such as a vacation, new car, or new appliance.

If you’re like me, you probably find that money disappears way too quickly. Between bills and everyday expenses, there just doesn’t seem to be enough. So how can you have any hopes of putting some aside for long-term saving?

If money is tight, it’s not easy. But there are some steps you can take to make it a little easier. Here are some tips that can help get you started:

  • Set up an automatic transfer from your checking account into a savings account. When it’s automatic, you have no choice but to put that money aside. Just make sure to record it in your checkbook so you don’t forget about it and overdraw your account!
  • Instead of paying with a debit or credit card, pay cash. And only pay with bills. Whenever you get change, put it aside in a piggy bank. You’d be surprised how quickly change can add up.
  • Some banks will let you set up your accounts so whenever you make a payment, the bank automatically rounds up and withdraws the whole dollar amount. The difference between the actual payment and the withdrawal amount goes into a savings account.
  • When you go grocery shopping, pay with a debit card and get cash back. But instead of spending that cash, put it aside. It doesn’t have to be a lot to add up quickly.
  • Set a budget for purchases such as groceries or clothes. Then, do your best to spend well under the budget. Put the difference in a savings account.

There are countless other ways to save money, and the most important part is to find something that works for you. Trial and error can help you. And you may find that you have to dip into your savings periodically if money is especially tight. Keep your eye on the long-term goal, and don’t beat yourself up over short-term setbacks. It will get easier, and saving will become second nature over time.

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