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Saving money is not an easy task. We live in a society that encourages spending rather than frugality. But, building savings can mean more financial independence and peace of mind. Start by examining your take-home pay in relation to your necessary expenses like housing, utilities, insurance, car payments, food, etc. Once you set your budget, you can get a realistic snapshot of your savings capabilities.
Next, make your savings plan. Even if it means starting small — skip eating out for lunch, cut back on cable, phone and wireless use, eliminate frivolous purchases, pay down high-interest debt — these choices will make a difference and help you achieve your goal. The following links offer some great tips on how to save, and they show what a few small adjustments could mean for your financial security.
Life may happen on the turn of a dime, but the unexpected can end up costing you much more than 10 cents. Having an emergency fund saved can make all the difference should something unanticipated happen. Whether it’s car repairs, a medical expense, appliance replacement, a plumbing emergency, etc., having some available money stashed away can alleviate some of the hassle in an already stressful situation.
Tucking money away every month into an interest-building savings account is a good way to accumulate your emergency fund. Even $25 to $50 a month can add up. Having six months’ worth of your expenses in reserve is ideal, but start with a smaller, more achievable goal like $500 to $1,000. Everyone deals with a surprise expense at some point — now is the time to start planning for the unexpected. The links below offer more tips on how to save for an emergency.
Planning for retirement can feel like an uphill battle, especially if you’re starting to save later in your career. But, with some careful thought, practical goal setting and educated decision making, you can get there. Step 1: Start today. Think of it this way — each day that passes without a retirement plan could mean a little less comfort in your golden years. Sit down and consider what your expenses will look like when you’re ready to retire, and how much it will take to cover them. Write down these observations and begin to set your goals.
Next, consider your options. Many employers offer a 401(k) plan that allows you to earmark a portion of your wages for pre-tax investment. Be sure to ask if your company matches any portion of your contribution. An Individual Retirement Account (IRA) is another savings vehicle that is not tied to your job, but also grows tax-free. The following links give more information about these and other retirement savings options. Give your future self the gift of better financial security — start your plan for retirement today.