Savvy Savings Tips

A recent survey conducted by the American Savings Education Council (ASEC) revealed that 77 percent of Americans are concerned about the impact of the economy on their personal finances but they are not necessarily changing their saving habits as a result. In fact, a third of the survey’s respondents reported that they don’t have a savings plan or a “rainy day” fund to cover expenses in the event of economic downturn, job loss, sickness or other emergency.

Managing your money well requires a balancing act between spending now and saving for later. It’s important to commit to spending within your means while continually saving for the future and staying out of debt. Saving is fundamental to healthy money management behavior and is an important skill for consumers of all ages to learn. Make saving a priority in your life with the help of these tips:

Save for a goal. If you are not frugal by nature or are struggling to earn money, it may be difficult for you to save just for the sake of it. Instead, to help keep you motivated try saving for a specific goal such as buying a home or car, planning for retirement or paying for college tuition. Create a timeline, including the amount you need to save each month to reach your goal, and track your progress. Post a picture of your goal next to the timeline to create a visual reminder of why you are saving. Sign up for Indiana Saves, powered by Purdue Extension, to help keep you accountable to your goals.

Save automatically using direct deposit. Many employers offer an option to directly deposit your paycheck into your bank account rather than giving you a paper check to manually deposit. In most cases, you can designate a certain percentage or dollar amount of each paycheck to go into a savings account, rather than a checking account. If you save money automatically, you may be less tempted to spend it.

Think of saving as striking a balance. With everyday expenses adding up and the general cost of living, some people may find it difficult to save even just a little each month. Counteract that mindset by thinking of even the littlest ways to save. There may be small habits you can change to save a little here and there. For example, pack your lunch instead of going out to eat every day. Consider switching from premium to basic cable. Avoid unnecessary fees by only using the ATM of your bank or credit union. Spending less in these small ways can add up to big savings.

Here are some additional ways you can spend less:

  • Shop for groceries with a list and stick to it.
  • During winter months, turn down the thermostat 10 to 15 degrees when you leave for work. Doing so will save you about 10 percent on your heating bill, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.
  • Switch to LED light bulbs wherever it makes sense. The initial costs may be more expensive but these light bulbs last longer and use much less energy than regular bulbs.
  • Discuss spending limits for gifts with your family members.

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