February 8, 2024 | Dale Grisso | Financial Literacy
Saving money for a rainy day is important. When it comes to preparing for the future, there are a few things you’ll need to stay financially savvy.
First, you will need an income that exceeds your monthly bills. That’s where a budget comes in. To create a basic budget, you’ll need to add up your bills, subtract them from your income, and determine how much is left over.
The next step to saving involves some strategy. What is your motivation to save money, aside from the need for an emergency fund? It’s easier to save when you are passionate about what you are saving for. What is the monetary and personal value of that item? Will it appreciate (grow in value) over time? One of the best feelings I ever had was owning my first home, although it’s not for everyone, and it comes with major challenges of its own.
Another strategy is paying yourself first. Before I go shopping, I set aside some income for savings. If I can pay my bills as soon as I get paid, then I can save a bit before spending the rest. I still try to keep leftover spending money for unexpected costs and for fun activities each month. It’s important to support my mental health by finding exciting things to do. But saving for the future has big benefits as well.
Also, I try to tell myself that I won’t touch my savings account unless an emergency happens, or until I have enough to get what I’m saving for. Some financial institutions (credit unions or banks) may have high-interest savings accounts where money grows even faster. Be sure you understand the terms of the account: Can you access the money without paying penalties; are there monthly fees; is your money easily accessible in case of an emergency?
While there are many other strategies for saving, the ones listed above have transformed the way I save, personally. One of my biggest motivators was watching my savings account increase each month. I’d log in daily just to remind myself how far I’d come and where I was going. I’d set a goal that would stick out in my mind, like reaching the benchmark of my first $1,000 in savings. When I proved I could reach that goal, I'd go for $2,000, then $5,000, then $10,000.
As I reached higher, I found I had enough for a down payment and renovations on a home, and I still had a little leftover for an emergency. Yes, it’s possible. But it takes time, discipline, passion, and growth. Start today and stick with it. It’s worth it. You can do it.