Just so y’all know, today’s title was one of the proposed names for this website! (Thanks, Shannon.) 😊
I’ve so far neglected one of my favorite things about money- saving it! I’m not kidding, y’all, I loooove saving my money! Whether or not I’m saving for a goal, seeing that balance increase and the interest accrue every month is so satisfying. We touched briefly on having an emergency fund in my Biscuits and Gravy Budgeting post, but this is a little more focused on the topic of saving.
How much you’re saving, how often you’re contributing and what kind of savings accounts you’re using varies based on why you’re saving. To kick things off, I’ll talk about my own savings plan.
I get paid bi-weekly and I contribute about 15-20% of my income to savings accounts and my retirement account. I have several online savings accounts and one attached to my checking account at my primary financial. I have a savings account for each of my siblings (the youngest 5, anyway. I have a big family!) that I contribute to from each paycheck (this totals roughly 4-5% of each paycheck) and 2 other online savings dedicated to my personal savings goals (that’s another 9-10% of each check). Because this money isn’t easily accessible, I also contribute another 4-5% of each check to the savings account at my local financial just in case I need access to funds more quickly than ‘3-5 business days’. I also contribute a set amount to my retirement account on the 28th of every month.
Have you heard the phrase “pay yourself first”? This is almost always used in conjunction with any conversation about saving and by golly, I’d say it may be the most important thing you can do when it comes to saving money. Don’t make deposits into your savings accounts with what you have left over after paying bills and going shopping. If I saved like this, I’d have NOTHING in savings, y’all! For real! It’s so easy to spend that extra $50, $100, or $500 when it’s sitting in your checking account or even a shoebox in your closet (this isn’t the best way to save money, but I’ll fess up- I was on the ‘shoebox savings plan’ for a while). Just like debt payments, SET UP THE AUTOMATIC TRANSFER TO YOUR SAVINGS ACCOUNTS. We previously said that 20% of your budget should be dedicated to savings and retirement. You can split up these transfers however you see fit (more into short-term savings to save up for a vacation versus more into your IRA because you’re nearing retirement) but PAY YOURSELF FIRST.
I even do this when I get “extra” money. Whether it’s from a birthday, holiday or work bonus, I make sure to put at least 50% of it into savings. I KNOW it’s not very fun, especially when your great-grandmother hands you a fifty and says ‘get yourself something nice’, but you know what IS fun? Going on a relaxing, 7-10 day beach vacation every year and not having to go into debt to do it.
Now, the emergency fund is a bit of a sticky subject. Most people define an emergency fund as ‘3-6 months’ worth of expenses’. I don’t know about you, but that’s quite a chunk of change for me! Just remember that the most important thing is to start saving and to be consistent. Saving isn’t a sprint, it’s a marathon (ooh, that was corny!). 😊
An emergency fund is something you want to have access to when there’s an emergency, so I wouldn’t recommend keeping this money in an online savings account. Online savings accounts typically pay more than the savings accounts you can open at your local financial (think 1.5% versus .15%), but I like the delay in access to the funds I have in my online savings accounts because it FORCES me to wait. It’s hard to impulsively spend those savings on that new UNC Tarheels monogrammed lunch box when it takes up to 5 business days for the money to reach your account! I have one online savings account without a specific goal (this is one is just called ‘personal savings’, for any future expenses). We could call this a ‘rainy day fund’ or the start of my emergency fund. My second online savings account is labeled ‘house savings’ (the goal for this one is obvious, I hope) and is more for long-term saving.
I know the hardest part about saving is feeling like you don’t have money to spare to put into savings. Think of it as a bill that HAS TO be paid- you’re paying your future self! The automatic transfer takes all the thought and effort out of it, so when I log into my savings accounts I’m always pleasantly surprised by the amount I’ve saved.
How do y’all make the savings happen? Do you have any tips or tricks to share with FGF? 😊