5 Money Saving Tips From America Saves Week
Since 2007, America Saves Week has been inspiring people of all ages to commit to building and maintaining good savings habits. This year’s theme is “A Financially Confident You,” and it’s all about taking control of your finances to achieve financial well-being.
In honor of America Saves Week, here are some money-saving tips to help you boost your financial confidence and empower your financial future.
Monday, February 27, 2023 | Saving Automatically
Get in the habit of making saving second nature by setting up automatic transfers. If you wait until after you pay your bills to see what’s left over to start saving, chances are you may not be able to save much. Instead, pay yourself first by saving a predetermined amount right away and adjust the rest of your budget accordingly. With digital tools like online and mobile banking, it’s easy to schedule recurring transfers from your checking account to your savings account on payday.
Pro tip: It’s okay to start small — even saving just $10 consistently can help you strengthen your savings muscles. As your income increases or you start paying off your other debts, increase the amount you’re saving each month to build on the momentum and accelerate your savings.
Tuesday, February 28, 2023 | Saving for the Unexpected
It’s a fact of life: Financial setbacks happen. From unexpected car repairs or medical bills or even a sudden job loss, you can count on expenses popping up that weren’t in your budget. The question is: Will you be able to handle a financial crisis without going into debt? By creating an emergency fund with at least 3 to 6 months' worth of expenses, you can boost your peace of mind and rest assured that you’ll be able to cover surprise bills without relying on high-interest credit cards.
Pro tip: Open a separate high-yield savings account for your emergency fund. You’ll want to maintain easy access to your funds for when you need them quickly, but you shouldn’t leave them in your everyday checking account where you might be more tempted to spend them (and probably won’t earn interest).
Wednesday, March 1, 2023 | Saving for Major Milestones
Do you want to buy a new car, plan your dream wedding, or save for a down payment on your first home in the next few years? Great! Saving for a specific goal is a useful motivator to stay on track with your savings. For medium- to longer-term goals, you should consider options besides a regular savings account. A money market account typically offers a higher interest rate when you maintain a higher balance, while still allowing you flexible access to your cash.
If you know you won’t need the funds for a longer period of time, a certificate is a convenient way to earn a higher return and ensure that your money will keep growing until you need it. With terms from 3 months to 5 years, competitive rates, and federal insurance up to the allowable limits, certificates help you benefit from higher earnings without the risk that your investment will lose value in the stock market.
Pro tip: Make sure you understand the fine print for the type of account that you choose to open. You’ll probably need to meet the minimum balance requirement and limit withdrawals to avoid getting hit with fees. There may also be penalties associated with closing your certificate before its maturity date.
Thursday, March 2, 2023 | Paying Down Debt Is Saving
Although it may seem counterintuitive, paying down debt is just another way of saving. Think about it: When you make payments toward your credit cards and loans, you’re saving money on interest and increasing your net worth by reducing your debt. If you’re carrying a balance on a credit card that charges 18% interest, you’re better off focusing on paying down what you owe on that card instead of trying to stash your savings in an account that earns 3% interest. Once you’ve paid off your debts, you can redirect the money you were using for debt repayment to your savings account instead.
Pro tip: There are multiple strategies for getting out of debt. You may have already heard of the “debt snowball,” where you pay off your loans with the smallest balance first to get a sense of accomplishment early on. However, the debt avalanche method — which involves paying off your cards with the highest interest rates first — will help you save more in interest over the long run.
Friday, March 3, 2023 | Saving at Any Age
Saving is a skill, and it’s key to building a strong financial foundation that will last a lifetime. You can help your child develop positive savings habits by opening a youth account designed especially for young savers. Youth savings accounts can help children learn about the magic of compound interest by depositing their allowance and birthday money and watching it grow over time.
Pro tip: It’s never too early – or too late – to start saving. Set a realistic savings goal for yourself, review your current budget to find areas where you can cut back, adjust your spending habits, and regularly monitor your progress. Even if you’ve never saved before, these steps will help improve your financial confidence and you’ll become an expert saver in no time!
Go Further With the Right Financial Partner
At American Heritage, we’re passionate about helping our members stay on track to achieve their personal financial goals. We offer free financial wellness resources to help you plan for life stages, from buying a home and growing your family to saving for college and planning for retirement. And as a not-for-profit credit union, we’re also able to offer our members better rates, fewer fees, and personalized service at every step of their financial journey.
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