Saving your money and raising the bar to your savings account is all about planning, making goals and being mindful of where your dollars are going. It’s also about sacrifice, flexibility, and adapting now so you’ll have more for later (retirement). You may not feel the instant gratification that making a purchase today brings you, but you will appreciate the extra savings later.
More than 40 percent of Americans struggle to keep $500 save up for emergencies and approximately 30% have $0 saved for their retirement. This is a big problem. It’s a concerning sign that the financial well-being of Americans is very close to bankruptcy. Let’s talk about here are some steps to increase your financial literacy and put your money where you need it.
1. Budget, Budget, Budget
Have a plan and make goals. It’s ok to make big dreams just make sure you are setting yourself up for success now. When you know what you want, it gives you the motivation and the end goal. When you’re being tempted ask yourself, “Would I prefer to have this pair of pants now or have more to spend on my dream trip?” These little mantras can put your goal in perspective and actually help change your spending habits.
2. Be Prepared
It’s not a glamorous tip but it’s a necessary one. No one wants to think about having to face a medical emergency or a major car breakdown, but as they say, life happens. The statistics earlier are alarming, and you don’t want to be one of them. According to the National Institute of Health, the median cost of an emergency room approximately $1,200. Even putting aside a small amount each paycheck will help build your emergency funds. Don’t get caught unprepared.
3. Separate Your Accounts
Set yourself up for success, it makes sense that when someone knows how much they have in savings, it is easier to be tempted to take a “little” bit out for things here and there. Try keeping your accounts separate, and by separate we mean at two different banks. Keeping both your savings and checking accounts at separate banks prevents you from seeing how much money is in your accounts at once which in turn puts a stop in the small trickle & cycle you have with leaking a little bit here and there.
4. Know Your Credit Score
This is easily one of the best things you can do to raise the bar in your financial situations. Know your numbers and know what they mean. Let’s start with the differences between your credit score and report, the biggest difference between the two, is the depth of information. In terms of FICO credit scores, this score includes payment history, amounts owed, length of credit history, credit mix, and new credit. However, your report is more about the behaviors that lead to the number of your credit score. Both numbers are important and should be taken seriously.