If you lost your job today, how long would you be able to cover expenses without taking on debt? If you answered, “not long,” it’s time to start saving for the unexpected. Most people start saving to cover at least three months of living expenses. If this doesn’t seem attainable to you, don’t worry. It’s ok to start small and gradually increase how much you’re saving when you get a raise, bonus or tax refund.
Whether you’re starting an emergency fund or saving for your next life adventure, these simple tricks and tools can help you set habits to make progress toward your financial goals.
1. Track your spending and set budgets
When you have a clear picture of where your money is going, it will be easier to identify extra expenses and make room for regular saving. Use your regular expenses to build a budget and make saving a mandatory part of the plan. Think of it as “paying yourself first.”
Thanks to technology, this process can be mostly automated. Use our money management tool, Personal Finance, within Online Banking and the Mobile App to auto generate budgets based on your spending trends. You can also use this tool to establish savings and debt payoff goals. Budgets are customizable once they are generated.
To get started with Personal Finance, click enroll now in online banking or the mobile app.
2. Make saving automatic – move extra money before you can spend it
Once you’ve set a budget with room for saving, set it up so that money from your paycheck is moved into savings before you pay bills. There are two ways that you can do this automatically:
- Split your direct deposit so that a portion of your paycheck goes directly into savings. Better yet, set a percentage rather than a dollar amount – when you get a raise, the amount moved to savings will automatically increase.
- Schedule automatic transfers from checking to savings.
3. Automatically save extra change for a rainy day
Use Round It Up with your GSB debit card to automatically save spare change from transactions. Enroll and debit card transactions will be automatically rounded to the nearest dollar. The aggregate amount is then transferred from your checking account to a designated savings account the next day. Think of this as your virtual piggy bank. You could use this to contribute to your emergency fund or another savings goal – like a vacation, big purchase or college tuition.
To enroll in Round It Up, contact the Customer Service Center at (207) 839-4796 or visit any branch location.
If you don’t feel like you have what it takes to become a successful saver, remember: start small and start today. You can always increase what you’re saving as your financial situation changes. We’re also here to help – Lesley Warn, Financial Wellness Coach loves to chat about all things money management.