Personal Finance Strategies: Building a Savings Account
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Date: January 9, 2017
When it comes to finances, it’s easy to get caught up in the moment. You like your job and you’re being paid well enough that you don’t dread those first-of-the-month bills.
But, you might be getting tired of renting, and found yourself wondering if you can save enough money to buy your own home. Maybe you’re even thinking about starting a family. You'll need cash savings for these long-term goals. Here’s how to build a savings account from the ground up.
Pay Current Bills on Time
Some expenses are optional, while many — like your rent or mortgage, utility payments and insurance premiums — are necessary. These expenses are usually fixed, but they don’t have to increase because of late fees. Day-to-day financial management means making sure you’re not missing payments or paying higher-than-necessary interest rates.
So how do you ensure that nothing slips through the cracks? The Quicken Starter Edition 2017 automatically categorizes every transaction you make. It helps you design a budget based on your past spending habits and reminds you when bills are due. It can even make payments for you so you don’t waste money on unnecessary late fees.
Pay Your Savings Account First
Paying yourself first from every paycheck is advice you’ve probably heard before. Joanne Flack, an independent financial advisor in Deptford, New Jersey, says, “Too many times, we pay bills, etc., then we try to put aside whatever is left over. Have a realistic target and start setting money aside on a monthly or per-pay basis.”
Decide what percentage of your income you want to save, then make it a point to drop that amount in your savings account every pay period. Better yet, to quickly build a savings account, arrange for automatic deposits with your bank. Bankrate suggests nicknaming your savings account — like House Fund, Baby Money or Shiny New Wheels Account — to remind yourself why you're saving and to help you resist making withdrawals.
When you save 10 to 15 percent of every paycheck, your savings account will begin to grow. But it will grow even faster if you deposit any "extra” money you receive as well. This might be your tax refund, a work bonus or some of the cash you received on your birthday. If you’re lucky enough to get a pay raise, consider this: You’ve been living without that money all along, so instead of using it to meet increased living expenses, consider dropping the difference into your savings account.
Discipline, Discipline, Discipline
Last but not least, cut out unnecessary spending — it’s one of the most significant roadblocks to saving successfully. The immediate enjoyment you might gain from all those extra purchases works against reaching your savings goal. Use the Quicken mobile app to take your budget with you on your smartphone so you aren’t tempted to spend while you’re out and about. It provides a snapshot of your budget, including how much of your income you have left after expenses to put toward the future.