Sometimes building a savings can seem like a daunting mission, but it doesn’t have to be. Savings don’t appear overnight—they’re grown in increments. For those who struggle with finding the extra money to put away, here are some small things you can do to start adding those coins to your piggy bank.
First, make sure you have a savings account separate from your checking account. Once you move money over to this savings account, consider it untouchable.
Set Up Automatic Transfers
Automatic transfers don’t need to be large amounts of money, they can be smaller increments that seem more do-able for you. It can be scheduled to occur after each time you get paid, so for example: $5 or $10 automatically transfers to your savings every two weeks. You don’t even have to think about it!
Skip the Coffee
Although the money saved may not cover a larger purchase, the savings can still make a difference. Whether it’s $5 at Starbucks, those $1 coffees at 7-Eleven, or some other drink you pick up at the store every other day, it adds up. It’s a little self-indulgence that you could probably go without. Every time you feel the urge to buy one of these, ask yourself if you really need it. If you can stop yourself from that purchase, send the money you would’ve used over to your savings account. Based on your coffee habits, you could save around $30 a month.
Dine Out Less
Most people like sitting in a restaurant to eat, skipping cooking for a night, and trying something new. Some more often than others. Dining out is no doubt more expensive than cooking at home, even with the increase in grocery prices. Meals at restaurants typically range from $13 to $30 per person (if you stay away from high-end). If you’re a foodie but you’re trying to build your savings, make a rule for yourself to limit the amount of times you eat out in a month. Once or twice a month is a nice compromise. Don’t forget to put the money you would’ve spent on dining into your savings account.
Everyone has bills to pay that can eat up a good chunk of your paycheck. If you have a remaining balance from your paycheck after tending to your other financial responsibilities, a good rule of thumb is to take the leftover money and put half away into savings and keep the other half to spend on whatever you’d like. If expenses use up 80% of your paycheck, put 10% in savings and use 10% at your discretion.
Control Shopping Habits
Some of us might treat ourselves a little too much. Sometimes it can be hard to tell yourself no when you really want those new shoes, beauty products, or the latest video game. Getting a shopping addiction under control can be difficult. Try alternating months that you treat yourself, within a reasonable limit. Send the unspent money from your “skip” months to savings.
Set Up Card Transaction Alerts
Getting a text alert every time your card is used not only helps you prevent fraud, but also keeps you aware of how often and how much you’re spending. These alerts will tell you the purchase amount and the vendor so you’ll notice if you’re making too many nonessential purchases, or even help you budget for the necessities. Once you evaluate your spending habits, you can start cutting back on purchases and lower that credit card bill. Use the extra money you saved to increase your savings account.
With most of these tips, the goal is to take any money you thought about spending but decided not to, and move it to your savings account. Orange County’s Credit Union can help you get set up by opening your savings account with a $25 initial deposit.* Learn more about our savings account by visiting the link below, visiting a local branch, or give us a call to get started.
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*Membership in Orange County's Credit Union is available to anyone who lives or works in Orange, Los Angeles, Riverside, or San Bernardino Counties. You may also qualify if your immediate family member banks with us. Ask us for details. Membership fee is $5.