Savings

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Now that you have a budget, add a savings category within it. Try to put away 10 percent of your income as savings. A perfect balance is 5% savings and 5% retirement. If your expenses are too high to where you cannot save that much, try and cut back on another category. The best way is to identify non-critical items that you can cut back on, such as dining out, daily coffee purchase, and entertainment. Make savings a regular expense category, similar to automobile gas or home electric. It is a great way to get in a good savings habit.

Always pay yourself first. Auto deposit right out of your paycheck so you don’t even think about it. Auto transfer within your bank from checking to savings if necessary.

Treat savings like one of your utility bills and pay it monthly.

Open an online savings account and deposit the 5% each pay. If you want to dedicate more, go for it but if things are really tight, start with 5%.  Most importantly, KEEP YOUR HANDS OUT of this!

Any raises you get whether annually or not, raise your savings amount also. Every time you get a raise, the first thing you should do is raise your automatic transfer to savings, as well as increase your retirement contributions.

Birthdays, tax refunds, bonuses or any other windfall should be saved as well, instead of spent.

Maybe you increase your savings rate by 1% or 2% each year, or put half of all raises towards savings. These small changes will really add up over.