You juggle many day-to-day tasks for your family; don’t let your finances get lost in the shuffle. By thinking ahead and making time to plan and set goals, you can save for future needs and wants.
Before you save for the nice-to-haves, save for the hope-you-don’t-haves by building an emergency fund—at least six month’s salary in cash for unexpected expenses like car repairs or medical bills, or to tide you over if you lose your job.
If you don’t already have an emergency fund, how can you start one? When you receive a paycheck, follow one simple rule: Pay yourself first. Put 10 to 15 percent into savings before you spend it on bills or groceries. Consider checking with your credit union to see if this amount can be automatically deducted from every paycheck.
A little saving now can pay off big-time later. Want to start a college fund for your kids? Ask your credit union about ways to save for education costs, or consider opening a 529 plan, a tax-advantaged plan designed to encourage saving for college.
If your retirement account isn’t where you’d like it to be, it’s not too late to catch up. Set up an automatic deduction with your employer for your 401(k) plan or other retirement account, or set up an automatic deduction for every paycheck. It never hurts to ask your credit union for advice on reaching your retirement goals. Learn more at Retirement Central
Don’t feel guilty about saving for this nice-to-have — studies have shown that spending money on experiences provides more happiness than spending money on things. To help you save, consider prioritizing your disposable income.
For example, when you’re tempted to buy something you don’t need, put that amount into your vacation fund. To stay motivated, keep a photo of the place you’d like to visit in an easy-to-see place, such as in your wallet. You might open a separate account just for vacation savings and contribute a fixed amount each month—it adds up! Pen Air offers a Round It program, in which your debit card transactions are rounded up to the next dollar and the extra funds are transferred nightly into a Round It Savings Account. This account is ideal for saving for something special. Saving Accounts
Remember, it’s never too late to start saving and even small contributions add up. Not sure where to start? Your credit union can answer questions and help you plan for your financial goals.