Many people across the country and around the world learned the importance of having something to fall back on when facing the unknown over the last few years. When it comes to saving, many experts recommend having enough money on hand to cover three to six months of living expenses in case you face a job loss, cut in hours or pay, or unexpected expenses like medical bills. How do you meet this savings target? One dollar at a time. Read on for a few tips on building your budget, changing some of your spending habits, and setting savings goals.
Build your budget
The first step in your savings journey is better understanding your earnings and your expenses. Start by making a list of your approximate monthly expenses, making sure to break them into different categories so you can see where your money goes and where you could make cuts. Try to do this at least monthly so you can see where you tend to spend and hold yourself accountable to your budget and saving. WaFd Bank offers a budgeting tool inside the WaFd mobile app and online banking where you can track your spending and assign categories to each transaction so it’s easy to see where every dollar is going.
8 Realistic Ways to Save Money
- Take your time to make big purchases
- Match your splurges with a contribution to your savings
- Pay bills through autopay
- Only use ATMs associated with your bank
- Manage your credit card debt
- Avoid temptation
- Find low-cost activities and entertainment options
- Compare insurance and other bills
Give yourself at least a day or two before deciding to spend a lot of money. This gives you time to make sure you’re not just making an impulse buy. It also gives you an opportunity to research the product and compare it to similar ones online; if something cheaper but maybe not quite as nice will work just as well for you, think about going with that option instead.
If you end up buying something you may not need, try depositing the same amount you spent on that item into your savings account.
By setting up automatic payments this will ensure you pay your monthly bills on time and avoid any late fees.
Check with your bank to find fee-free ATMs and avoid paying unnecessary transaction fees to other banks. WaFd Bank offers more than 40,000 fee-free ATMs.
If possible, try to pay off your credit card bill each month to avoid paying interest. If you cannot pay off your credit card, commit to paying a certain amount toward your credit card each month to get closer to becoming debt-free.
Unsubscribe to emails from stores, especially your favorite ones, so you’re not tempted to buy something you may not need.
Check event listings in your area to see if there are free or cheap things to keep you busy. In need of entertainment options like books or movies? Check out your local library! It’s free, and you have access to more than you might think, like day passes to a museum.
Saving money means comparing services like your phone bill and car or home insurance, too! In general, it’s a good idea to compare prices every year or two just to make sure you’re not paying more than you need to. Just double-check that you’re comparing the same coverage when looking at insurance rates specifically.
Set Your Savings Goals
- Start small
- Save for retirement
Building your savings does not have to happen overnight. Set small goals like saving an extra $25 or $50 each month. As you cut costs in other areas, stock that money away in a savings or investment account. Consider setting up automatic transfers from your checking to your savings account each month to ensure you meet your savings goal. Even $10 a month adds up over time!
It's never too early to save for retirement. If starting a new retirement account, make sure to do your homework since there are different rules and restrictions for each type of account. WaFd Bank offers two types of Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs) - traditional and Roth.
WaFd Bank is Here to Help
WaFd Bank is here for you, and no question is too small for our friendly bankers! You can visit us at your neighborhood branch or give us a call at 1-800-324-9375 to learn more. Interested in opening a savings account? WaFd Bank's savings accounts* require just $25 to open for adults and just $10 to open for those under age 18.
*$3 monthly fee for balances below $100, and free with all balances for minor accounts up to age 18.