5 Ways to Increase Your Savings

5 Ways to Increase Your Savings

While it may seem like a simple task, building up your savings can be quite a feat when there are bills to pay and things to buy. Putting aside a few extra dollars isn’t as easy as it sounds for many people, especially those who are just starting out on their own.

Recent research has shown that many Americas have little to nothing in a savings account. According to a 2017 GOBankingRates survey, 18% of adults had just a few hundred dollars saved while 39% of adults had nothing saved at all. The same study showed that only 25% of the population had saved more than $10,000.

Despite the fact that you may not need this money now, a rainy-day fund is a must-have for everyone. Retirement is also another important event to save for: While you may not be thinking that far into the future just yet, it is important to plan for the day that you will no longer be working. Half of Americans have put nothing away for retirement. Even if you start off small, savings and retirement accounts are essential to secure your future.

You may be wondering how much is enough. While that number is going to be different for everyone, there are some good rules of thumb for what percentage of your annual salary you should have saved up for retirement and incidentals.

Here are some guidelines for how your savings should grow with your age:

In Your 20s: When you’re starting off in the working world, it’s harder to save since your salary is likely to be lower. But you should still have something put away, In your 20s, shoot for accumulating savings equivalent to 25% of your annual salary.

By 30: By the time you’re 30, you should have the equivalent of your yearly salary in savings or retirement funds. As you begin to make more money, you should also begin to increase the amount you are saving each month to make this happen. Say no to some of the other incidentals on your list and put that money into your savings account!

By 35: Keep growing your savings so that you have twice your annual salary saved at this point in your life.

By 40: You should have 3 times your annual salary in savings at this point. Keep increasing your contributions on an annual or quarterly basis to make this happen.

By 50: While you’re closing in on retirement, you should continue to increase the amount you are contributing to your savings. By 50 years old, you should have 5 times your yearly salary in savings.

These amounts can seem daunting and unattainable right now, but you can do it! Below are 5 tips to help increase your savings and decrease your savings-related stress.

Pay Yourself First

Before you pay any bills or go shopping, put a certain amount of money in a designated savings account. It is important to make your savings a priority and setting the money aside when you first get paid is a great way to make this happen. You shouldn’t wait to save your money until after you’ve paid your monthly expenses and bought everything you wanted. If you do this, you’ll never save as much as you should or want to. Put yourself first and put your money in a savings account right when you get it.

Make It a Habit

It doesn’t matter how much you save when you’re starting out, just make sure you save something each month. Get yourself into this monthly habit by setting up an automatic deposit or creating reminders for pay day so that the money gets saved immediately. Making saving a habit is a great first step towards a richer financial future and will make it much easier to start increasing your contributions later on—rather than from starting from scratch a year or more from now.

Look for Extra Money Everywhere

Try to find ways to “trim the fat” when it comes to your expenses. Eat out less or say no to a few extras when you’re shopping. Then take this extra money and put it into your savings account. Over time, these small amounts can add up and give you a lot more money in the bank towards your savings. If you have a hard time remembering to do this, there are apps that can help you “round up” your purchases, putting those extra few cents right into savings.

Maximize Your Benefits

When looking for a job, prioritize employers who offer great benefits. Things like health insurance, life insurance, and retirement savings are important assets that can help you save beyond your paycheck. Also, if your job offers matching funds toward your retirement benefits, make sure you maximize the amount they are willing to give. Never leave money on the table, even if it is one or two percent. While this may seem like a small percentage now, it will make a big difference over time.

Budget Your Money

Creating a plan on how to pay your bills (and all of those extras and treats) is important. If you don’t have a spending plan, it can be very easy to lose control. Once you start working and earning a salary, create a budget that fits your family’s needs and still allows you to save. Your budget will help you make sure you can pay all your bills and possibly treat yourself from time to time, while still prioritizing saving. After you make it, stick to it.

Your ultimate goal should be to have at least three to six months of expenses saved in a designated savings account, in addition to your retirement savings. This will allow you and your family to continue to live comfortably in the event of an emergency without putting your retirement savings at risk. If you end up in a pinch and need to tap into the fund, don’t worry: that’s what it’s there for. Except in true emergencies, keep saving and letting your money grow!

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