Amanda Jacques
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Amanda Jacques in Stack That Money,

Growing Your Savings

We all know that building up our savings account is essential. A savings helps you to prepare for contingencies, and can give you peace-of-mind. So, how can we effectively build our nest egg?

See where you spend. In today's economy, many families are struggling to make ends meet, let alone save for the future. I get it. I know a lot of us feel strapped, but that doesn't mean we can't start saving. The first step in saving is to go over your budget and figure out where you are spending. Track every payment and purchase for a month. I think you'll be surprised to see some areas that could be reduced or eliminated in order to accommodate a savings plan.

Pay off expensive loans. If you have borrowed at a high interest rate, it is more beneficial for you to pay those off first and then start saving. You will free up more of your disposable income, and you can free yourself of the high amount of interest. If you can't pay them off, consider refinancing at a lower rate.

Do your research. You aren't just limited to a savings account at a financial institution. There are many options available to you, so you must do your research. You could invest in the stock market, mutual funds, CD, IRA, or even your 401K. Higher returns usually mean a higher risk or higher penalties for early withdrawal. Find the plan that works for you.

Consider the value of cash. Research has shown that, on average, people spend less when they pay in cash. It's easier for us to see the value of the transaction when we physically exchange something for it, rather than swiping our card after hearing a total dollar amount. This can help you distinguish between “need” and “want”.

Save your change. Do you buy coffee every morning? Save your change in a jar. It sounds simple, but it's effective. You'd be surprised how quickly change can add up. Fill up a jar, then deposit it in your savings.

Pay yourself first. The first payment you should make when you get your check is to your savings account, or better yet, have your bank automatically withdraw and deposit it for you. This will get you into the habit of saving. If you wait until the end of the month, there might not be anything left to save.

Dedicate unexpected money. Automatically deposit things like your tax return, refunds, rebates, etc. into your savings account. Your monthly budget won't be affected and you'll continue to grow your savings amount.

Reduce temptation. Building your savings can be difficult when you can easily transfer that money into your checking account and make it available to spend. Try labeling your account with the reason you are trying to save. For example, name it of a destination if you are saving for a trip, or with your child's name if it is for their college education. That way, you can reduce the temptation to spend.

Be prepared to make tough decisions. Saving isn't easy, especially if you're already strapped for cash. Saving depends on you forging something now so you are better prepared in the future. It's a struggle, and you have to be determined to stay strong. Believe me, it will pay off in the end.

Do you have a savings? Where to you put your savings? What techniques do you use to make money available for saving?