There are several important reasons for saving money, including peace of mind and to have cash available for emergencies. Another motivating factor is to have money to achieve financial goals (e.g., buying a new car or taking a cruise).
To calculate how much you need to save to achieve a goal, divide the amount you need to save or invest by the time (e.g., number of months) you have left to save. If, for example, you want to save $5,000 by next year, you'll need to put aside $416.67 ($5,000 divided by 12) a month, or $96.15 ($5,000 divided by 52) a week.
An easy way to see how long it will take for your savings to double is called the "Rule of 72." The formula doing a calculation is: 72 divided by the interest rate equals the number of years it will take for your money to double. For example, at an average annual return of 7%, a sum of money will double in about 10 years. The Rule of 72 assumes that your money is in an account earning compound interest.
You may think, "There's no way I can save any money!" But most people find they can save when they really put their minds to it. Below are some strategies to get started:
·Pay Yourself First - Make your "savings bill" a part of your spending plan, just like rent or utility bills. Automate savings through an employer credit union or retirement savings plan or through monthly deductions from a bank account to purchase U.S. savings bonds or mutual fund shares. ·Continue Paying A Loan - If you're about to pay off a loan, continue making the same monthly payment - to yourself! ·Bank A Windfall - Whenever you receive unexpected money - an inheritance, bingo winnings, retroactive pay, an insurance dividend, etc. - put at least part of it into savings. ·Save "Extra" Paychecks - If you're paid bi-weekly, in two months of each year you will receive three paychecks. Employees who are paid weekly will receive an "extra" check in four months of each year. The months vary with each year's calendar and the day of the week on which you are paid. Save at least part of this money. ·Save Coupon Money - Put aside the amount you "save" by using coupons at the grocery or drugstore. If you save $2 a week using grocery coupons, put the "savings" (the money you did not spend) in your savings account. ·Collect Loose Change - At the end of every week (or more often), empty out your pockets and wallet and put the change in a jar. Every other week or once a month, deposit the change in your savings account. Studies show that over three-quarters of Americans have a stash of loose change and over half of Americans add to it regularly. ·Break a Habit - Every time you don't have a donut at coffee break or don't spend money in a soda machine, save the money you didn't spend. Sometimes we spend small amounts daily without thinking. Small things really do add up.