By Delta Jones-Walker
Can you believe that we are only a month away from the second half of the year? New Year’s resolutions are a distant memory, and many have their eyes set on summer vacation. The question now becomes, “When is a good time to save money?” Answer: Anytime is a great time to map out a savings plan. I wanted to write this column because so many people tell me that they don’t make enough money to save, let alone invest (Keep in mind that investing involves some risk, including the risk of principal.) We can dispel this myth together by making a few adjustments to spending habits and sticking to the plan over time while watching your savings grow.
Starting June 1st, I am issuing a Summer Savings Challenge that will last through August 31! There is indeed a challenge in this charge because summer is one of the most popular times that we are tempted to spend the most money on vacations, dining out and other guilty pleasures. Luckily, there are a few tips that you can follow to keep that summer spending under control:
- Set the amount that you plan to save over the next 90 days. Make sure it is a reachable number. Be ambitious, but reasonable. Consider your monthly income and expenses to help determine how much you can comfortably afford to put away each payday. Is it $20, $50, $100, etc.? Multiply this number by the amount of paydays you will have between now and August 31, and this represents your savings goal.
- Identify 2-3 guilty pleasures to cut back or eliminate. Like to enjoy a latte every day before work? Time to pull out the coffee pot and brew it yourself for a few days out of the week! That pit stop for breakfast that averages $5-$10 per day can net a savings of about $25-$50 per week. The same goes for eating out at lunch time. Try brown bagging it a few days and watch those dollars grow in your bank account. What’s your guilty pleasure? Make a list of them and then make a commitment to cut back in some way.
- If you haven’t done so already, open a savings account. Believe it or not, a lot of people don’t have one. Separating your money into different accounts allows you to see exactly how much money is going toward expenses and the amount that is being saved for emergencies, retirement, a major purchase, etc. If you see your savings is getting low or is not meeting your expectations, you are more likely to contribute to this account on a regular basis to get that number up.
- Get a savings accountability partner. Just like working out or dieting, it’s also helpful to have someone hold you accountable for saving. Make sure your savings partner is someone you trust like a spouse, close relative or friend. Typically, they know your weaknesses and can help you to avoid frivolous spending. You can even make it a competition to see who can save the most during the Summer Savings Challenge.
- Don’t give up! Please don’t be discouraged if you don’t reach your savings goal by a certain date. Keep going, and contribute what you can. Saving something is always better than saving nothing at all.
Find more tips during the Summer Savings Challenge by following me on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Good luck!
Connect with Delta Jones-Walker and Atled Financial on Facebook, Twitter: @Atled Financial and LinkedIn! To schedule a complimentary consultation or a presentation to your group or organization, call 219-513-3710 or email [email protected] and mention this column. Topic ideas for this column are welcome!
*Securities and advisory services offered through Woodbury Financial Services, Inc., member FINRA/SIPC. Insurance services offered through Atled Financial Group 717 B Main Street Schererville, IN 46375 which is not affiliated with Woodbury Financial.
* Investing involves risk including the potential loss of principal. No investment strategy can guarantee a profit or protect against loss in periods of declining values. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.