Ready, Set, Save

  • February 23, 2022
  • By: Julie Rogier
  • With a multi-decade career in communications, Julie Rogier serves on GreenPath’s content marketing team. She has presented on financial wellness for groups including the 2021 and 2022 Financial Services Midwest Summit, and regularly writes about financial health and wellness for several publications including U.S. News and World Report.

Saving to Achieve Your Goals

Do you want to jumpstart your savings, begin saving for retirement, or finance a college degree or large purchase? Regardless of your goals, there a number of steps you can take to begin making meaningful progress.

When it comes to finances, we do not always have complete control – emergencies, the economy, job changes and unforeseen bills can get in the way. However, you do have control over the actions that you take. Even starting small with saving $10 a week is progress!

1. Build a Budget

The first step is to build a simple budget and keep track of where your money is going. If you know where your money is going it will be easier to make changes if you need to. Think of it as a road map that tells you exactly where you are in terms of monthly income and expenses, what money is available to put away each month, and if you’re on track.

Build it in a format that works best for you – using a smartphone app, spreadsheet or simple notebook. Keep it in an easy to find spot to track your income, spending and saving as you go forward.

2. Save Regularly

Automate savings so a portion of your paycheck is directly deposited into your savings account or set up an automatic transfer each month from your checking to your savings account.

Choose an amount that is reasonable and realistic. Depending on your specific situation, perhaps you can save $40 each week. You can measure your progress each week and adjust your goals as needed. By keeping saving automatic, you will be able to achieve savings goals over time.

3. Tackle Debt

Debt is one of the greatest barriers to saving adequately. If you carry large balances, you will save the most money by paying down as much as you can on your high interest debt first. Once that card is paid off, you can move on to your second-highest interest debt. When those high interest cards are eliminated, start putting the payment money toward your savings.

If possible, avoid using credit to pay your bills. While it may make things easier in the short-term, using credit only increases your monthly payments in the future.

4. Take Inventory

Do you find yourself overspending across certain categories? Consider ways you might trim monthly costs. For example, can you eliminate infrequently used subscriptions, make some energy efficient updates in your home, or cut down on food delivery service? You can also check your insurance policies. By reviewing your plan coverage you may find you are spending more than you need.

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5. Build an Emergency Fund

Emergencies happen. A separate emergency fund is a crucial part of an effective savings plan. If possible, set aside three months’ worth of living expenses in your emergency fund. This buys you some time, if something does happen, to make changes and get back on your feet without a huge disruption to your goals. If that isn’t realistic for your situation, start with what you can.

Your Steps to Save

When creating your savings plan and goal, remember that you are not alone. GreenPath’s caring, NFCC-certified financial counselors can help you strategize a savings plan for your situation. And if debt is getting in the way, a Debt Management Program can lower your interest rates and fees to help you save more and pay down debt faster.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Julie Rogier (She/Her)

With a multi-decade career in communications, Julie Rogier serves on GreenPath’s content marketing team. She has presented on financial wellness for groups including the 2021 and 2022 Financial Services Midwest Summit, and regularly writes about financial health and wellness for several publications including U.S. News and World Report.

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Julie Rogier

With a multi-decade career in communications, Julie Rogier serves on GreenPath’s content marketing team. She has presented on financial wellness for groups including the 2021 and 2022 Financial Services Midwest Summit, and regularly writes about financial health and wellness for several publications including U.S. News and World Report.