In today’s busy world full of constant advertising, it is becoming harder and harder to create good savings habits. There are so many habits that can be good to form when starting to save. We are going to start with the basics, some of which I have touched on in previous blogs.
Save first then spend
The best way to create savings habits is to make sure you are saving before you are spending, in other words, pay yourself first. The beauty of online banking allows you to set up automatic transfers from a checking to a savings account. If you receive a paycheck on the same day every month, have your bank transfer at least 5% of your income to your savings account the next day.
Use separate accounts for your savings
Separating your spending account from your savings account, in my opinion, is a must. Either open a savings account at your bank or find an online savings account that pays at least 1% interest. Many online banks offer 1% interest savings accounts and some even fee free like this Aspiration account. Here is a list of others. Educate yourself on the types of online banking options out there and pick the one that you are most comfortable with.
Build your rainy day fund
By separating your spending account from your savings account you take the first step to establishing a rainy day fund or emergency fund. This is for your unexpected expenses from needing a new water heater, getting in a car accident to unexpected medical costs. This fund will also be good for you to transition between jobs if you are switching or trying to find something new. A good goal for an emergency fund is around 6 months of living expenses. Most importantly an emergency fund will give you the ability to financially handle being fired or quitting your job to start your own business. For young couples with children, I can’t stress the importance of an emergency fund enough. Having money set aside is important so you can still provide for your children if the perfect storm occurs.
Destroy your debt
Once you have three to six months of living expenses put together for your emergency fund. It’s time to take down that student debt and/or credit card debt that you feel smothered by. Get beyond the minimum payments and start paying extra towards your principal amounts. Paying extra on your principal will pay down your debt balance faster, lessens the amount of interest that can be charged and frees you of the mountain on your back.
Galvanize your savings
Once your debt is paid down, start to galvanize your savings habits. Any extra money coming should be directly put into savings for your goals that you want to work on. Any gifted money, tax returns or bonuses should be put towards your future goals. Soon you will be achieving all you wanted.
By creating strong savings habits you will crowd out any bad spending habits. Now you are on your way to your best self. I want you to become your best self and am excited to help my peers in saving, destroying debt and constructing wealth. Stop living lukewarm and plunge into the financial life you dream of.
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Steven LaFleur grew up in Rapid City, SD and after high school went to college at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln where he majored in finance and met his wife Kelly. After college graduation in 2013 working for the family business for three years, Steven decided it was time to pursue a passion of his in helping people and their finances. Steven is now a financial advisor at True Measure Wealth Management in Omaha, NE. Steven and his wife Kelly have two daughters who keep them busy at all times of the day. Steven enjoys skiing in the mountains and also biking and golfing during the non-snowy months.