Tips to Keeping Your Savings on Track in a Recession
One thing we probably all have in common is watching our account balances go down since the economic downturn. That’s why it’s even more important now to have a savings strategy in place. It may require some sacrifice, but chances are you’ll look back one day and be very thankful.
- Take a snapshot of your finances. Saving requires you to analyze, plan, organize and evaluate. But first, you need to know the current state of your finances.
- Set savings goals. Slice and dice your savings needs, first into long-term (i.e. retirement) and short-term (i.e. home repairs) goals. Then you’ll be able to better decide how to allocate your money to help you reach them.
- Make a “savings sacrifice.” Track your expenses carefully for an entire month and then evaluate them. Are there services or products that you don’t use or can stretch between uses, like visits to the salon or dry cleaning? You may have to make a lifestyle sacrifice for a limited period until you meet your goal.
- Save some money monthly. Automatically put a set amount―no amount is too small―of every paycheck in your savings account. Immediately deposit unexpected income such as birthday checks or garage sale proceeds.
- Establish an emergency fund. Aim to accumulate enough to cover three to six months of living expenses at a minimum. Determine as a household what defines an “emergency.”
- Pay down debt. It doesn’t make much sense to scrimp to put money into emergency savings if you are carrying high-interest debt. Put money toward paying down this debt first, while still adding as much as possible to your emergency fund.
- Invest in your future―before your child’s. If you can’t save for both college and retirement, save for your retirement first. There are other options to fund college―grants, loans, scholarships, etc. ―but none for funding your retirement.
- Stay up-to-date and involved. The lives and financial needs of women are unique, and can potentially impact our retirement, Social Security benefits, and healthcare expenses. Continue to build your knowledge about your finances and stay up-to-date on the key issues impacting your savings plan. Actively seek out the financial information you need.
Having a savings plan is key to weathering financial storms.