Pay yourself first! For all your hard work, you should be saving money. Your budget should account for saving. Retirement, Emergency, Vacation, Christmas. The easiest way to save is to have automatic deductions from your paycheck or automatic transfers between accounts. It is easy to setup a secondary savings account with online access. Schedule automatic transfers for a few business days after you get your paycheck. This will force you to adhere to your budget and soon enough it will be routine.
You don’t want to simply save whatever you have left at the end of the month. Then you would be making it a bottom priority with no real commitment. Look at all the entries in your budget and decide what is important to you. There is a whole world ready to take your money away from you. You made a budget. Now create a savings account and start contributing to it. You can find a list of online savings options at bankrate.com or open one with your current bank. Pay yourself first! You deserve it.
You should have 3-6 months expenses saved in a savings account which is liquid (you can access it within a few days without penalty). 3-6 months is a lot. Shoot for a $1000 for starters. Why have this money available?
- Loss of Income or job
- Unexpected expenses
- Medical Bills
- Emergency Auto Repairs
- Emergency Home repairs
- You need a vacation (No! that’s not an emergency)
Some advice you may have heard is to use a credit card or home equity loan to accommodate an emergency expense. But then you would be simply borrowing money at a time of need and getting into more debt. Imagine going to a friend at a time of need, and with a straight face they say “Sure I can help you. You can borrow as much as you need at 15% interest. If you don’t start repaying me immediately and on time, I’ll ruin your credit history.” Great. Thanks friend!Another great thing that happens when you have an Emergency account is that you gain
- Leverage – You will be less scared about losing a job. You could weather the storm with savings and unemployment.
- Peace of Mind – You know when something unexpectedly goes wrong, you have the savings to cover it.
- Less Stress – You will not be surviving month to month. You have a nice buffer to protect you from unexpected financial stress.
College expenses is a big category. It’s never too early to start planning. This page is still under construction..
A 529 plan which allows you to invest the money and get some tax savings. Here are some great resources to help you out on this topic for now