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During times of financial uncertainty the U.S. population as a whole is said to focus more on saving than spending although their family's income may be less than it was in previous years. It is wise, however, to save money no matter what your financial circumstances are. Saving at least a small portion of your net income each paycheck should remain a priority to ensure future financial security.

You can do this by putting aside money for yourself before you do anything else. Of course, this doesn't mean that you should neglect your responsibilities or not pay your bills, it just means that you should start with a small amount if necessary and increase gradually once you've discovered the effect of not having those funds. What are some of the benefits of putting money into savings before you do anything else? (This is also commonly referred to as paying yourself first.) Having savings allows you to work toward some goals that you may have whether they're individual or familial savings goals.

Examples of common expenses and goals that people save for include retirement, vacation, education, and down payments on large items like cars and homes. Saving money first also puts you in a position to deal more effectively with emergencies and unexpected events such as car repair, loss of or decrease in employment income, or hospitalization. In addition, saving is a huge component of learning to manage your finances by budgeting and keeping track of what's spent.

Tips on what you can do to save more


  1. Consider and be more aware of your needs versus your wants. This includes thinking about the things that you may purchase on a regular, day-to-day basis. Perhaps you have take-out or eat at restaurants often. You can also save more by cutting back on smaller items that increase your expenses because you buy them regularly-cigarettes, candy, coffee or soda. You may also be paying for services that you don't need or use that are attached to your cable bill, phone bill, etc. Be sure to review your existing bills and see if there are any additions or amounts that are questionable. You can also call your providers to ask about any promotions that you'd be eligible for that may decrease your rates for a certain length of time.

  2. Set-up a direct deposit if your employer offers it and begin an automatic transfer to your savings account. You may also be able to have your employer direct deposit into a checking and a savings account. Be sure to start the savings direct deposit with a small amount that you believe you won't miss. You can always increase the amount later.

  3. Always pay your bills on time. Paying your bills on time will eliminate the possibility of extra expenses such as:

    • Late fees

    • Extra finance charges

    • Disconnection or reconnection fees on utilities to restore service

    • Repossession

    • Bill collectors

  4. Compare the costs associated with having and depositing money into your checking account versus cashing your check somewhere else. Sometimes people feel that it's necessary to cash their checks at a facility other than their bank because their own bank can put a hold on the funds or require that there be existing funds in order to cash it.

  5. If you get a raise or bonus from your employer, save the extra money you'll be receiving.

  6. If you've paid off a loan, continue to apply that same amount to save or invest that money since you're already accustomed to not having it to use for other things.

  7. Consider saving all or part of cash gifts that you may receive.

  8. Try to avoid any debt that doesn't help you to build long-term financial security and stability. This means that you shouldn't borrow money for things that don't last as long as the loan or don't provide any financial benefits to you or your family. Some examples of debt that does help build long-term financial security include buying a home, home remodeling, purchasing a vehicle to get back and forth to work, and paying for a college education. However, be sure that your payments for any of the above items aren't more than you can afford and that it doesn't force you to drastically reduce your lifestyle and quality of life.

  9. Save the change that you accumulate each day. Plan to deposit the change into your savings periodically or after a set amount has been collected.

  10. Save as much as you can from your tax return. Don't use it all to purchase unnecessary items.

  11. If your employer offers a matched 401 (k) or 403 (b), begin contributing to it.

  12. Before you consider investing in non liquid items such as stocks, bonds and mutual funds, be sure to have several months of savings set aside for emergencies.

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