Sunday, July 18, 2010

Make Saving A Habit

In today’s society, the majority of us truly do live paycheck-to-paycheck. Sometimes it is because we are actually overspending and sometimes circumstances get us into a financial pinch. However, one key component of getting out of debt is learning to save. I know what many of you are thinking right now. “How can I save when my paycheck barely covers (or doesn’t cover) the bills.” Believe me, I fully understand!! But saving money needs to become a habit. It doesn’t just happen when you finally have extra money after paying bills. If you wait until then, you will continue to get deeper in debt.

I strongly suggest that you open a savings account that does not have a minimum balance to avoid a service charge. Then take a set amount of each paycheck and put it into that account. We prefer to use an ING Direct account ( for this for a couple of reasons. First of all, ING offers a better interest rate than traditional banks. And secondly, since they are an online bank, you don’t have immediate access to your funds. Transferring money to and from your account is easy, but it does take a couple of days. Be sure to check with your bank about withdrawal or transfer fees. This prevents us from using the money for impulse purchases. However, if you don’t have a traditional bank to use to transfer funds, call around and find a bank that offers an account to suit your needs. By the way, ING Direct is FDIC insured.

So now you’re still wondering how you are supposed to do this if there isn’t any extra money after the bills, right? Would you really miss a buck or two out of each paycheck? Maybe even $5-$20 is manageable. Whatever amount you decide upon is good. The real point is to make it a habit to save. Mark your calendar for about three months after you’ve started saving and see if you can raise the amount you are putting into the account. Hopefully, by doing this, the next time something unexpected happens, you’ll have the money there to pay cash and not get into further debt. And it’s a good way to reduce financial stress by knowing you have a small “cushion.” I know some people who take the money they save by using coupons and put that into their savings accounts. Where there is a will, there is a way!

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