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How to Manage Your Money in Good Times and Bad

While there are a few exceptions, most people earn and spend roughly the same amount each month. Occasionally, one-time, unexpected incidents can happen — like new tires for a car, a medical emergency or money from inheritance. The spending and saving choices you make in those situations can have a big impact on your financial future.

Use your emergency funds wisely

The money you have in savings is referred to as a rainy day fund for a reason. Lost a job or can’t pay a medical bill? You may need to think about tapping into your emergency fund.

It is recommended to have between three and six months’ of living expenses saved for an emergency. If your employment is uncertain or if your income changes frequently, then you may want to consider keeping enough in your emergency fund to cover six months’ worth of expenses.

If you receive “extra,” or unexpected money — pay yourself first! Did you get a bonus, inheritance or other unplanned cash? Consider building up your savings fund before using the money for something else.

Start saving where you can — regardless of the amount

After paying the mortgage or rent, car payment and credit card bill — most people do not have a lot of money left over. But regardless of the amount, it’s important to continue to focus on saving.

If you are new to saving money, start setting aside $25 or $50 from every paycheck and depositing it into a savings account. Your account will grow and could motivate you to save even more.

Need a savings account? WaFd Bank’s savings account requires just $25 to open and has no monthly or minimum fee when you keep at least $100 in the account. (There is a $100 minimum to earn interest.)

Turn debt payments into a savings plan

If you have recently paid off a loan — or are about to — then you likely are in the habit of making a consistent, monthly payment. When the loan is paid off, start using the money that you used to pay for your loan towards building up your savings account and/or emergency funds. You won’t notice the money is gone — and you will be making progress towards saving for a rainy day.

If you cannot make a payment, let the lender know immediately

If you think you may not be able to make your monthly mortgage or credit card payment, it can be tempting to ignore it and hope the missed payment will go unnoticed by your lender. However, many lenders offer assistance programs and depending on your situation may be able to offer you some flexibility or extensions.

Review your monthly subscriptions

Take a look at your past three months of checking or credit card statements and find your monthly or recurring subscriptions, like video or music streaming services, food delivery, or gym subscriptions. Think about what you actually need and if there could be a cheaper alternative. Instead of paying $50 a month for a gym, could you exercise outdoors?

$100 notes in a piggy bank

Plan your fun

When it comes to spending money on “wants” — it pays to think ahead.

Taking a vacation next year? Start setting money aside now for less debt later. Even just $25 from each paycheck can really add up. (If you get paid twice a month, you would have about $600 in one year!)

WaFd Bank’s Green Checking offers ways to help you save on other non-banking items too, like discounts at restaurants, mobile phone protection and more.

We are here to help

When it comes to getting your finances in order for the ups and downs of life, a little planning goes a long way. Whether you are a seasoned budgeting pro, or new to saving, your local WaFdBank branch is available to help you reach your financial goals.

Visit to open an account today or call us at 800-324-9375 to find out more.

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Green Checking requires twenty-five dollars to open and costs six dollars per month. Nonsufficient funds and return fees may apply. Discounts are not FDIC insured.