Happy America Saves Week! You’re probably wondering, “What the heck is America Saves Week?” (Context clues, my friend.) This week, we’re bringing together diverse groups that will support and encourage Americans to be smart with their savings. Everybody is collaborating: nonprofit groups, the government, academic organizations, economic groups, and so many more! We’re doing this all to help everybody save more efficiently. Get your pens out and pay attention: For starters, we’re going to share our best tips for saving money!
The recession is over, isn’t it?
Unemployment is low, the stock market high, and the economy has finally recovered from the fallout of the housing crash. Consumer spending is up, and the housing market has bounced back. Americans should be fine, right? Truth is, most Americans are not fine. It’s largely because we, as a society, do not save for the future. According to a September 2017 study, almost eight out of ten Americans are living from paycheck to paycheck, and over half (57%) of Americans have less than $1,000 in savings, which could be wiped out by a faulty transmission, a trip to the ER, a plumbing crisis or an expected job loss.
You’re not alone.
If you’re one of those low (or no) savers with no financial cushion and no budget to follow, don’t panic – you’re not alone. The average American saves less than 5% of his or her disposable income, and most financial advisors say that number will not ensure a comfortable retirement. At Mr. Cooper, we believe in the importance of having a financial cushion, and during America Saves week, we’re going to help you build one.
Before you get started, change your mental mindset & commit to these tips for saving money.
You wouldn’t take off on a road trip without a map, would you? Well, rather than cringing about the idea of putting away money in a boring savings account, think of saving money as a long, enjoyable road trip with a well-deserved vacation at the end. Your savings plan is your personal road map to a healthy future. Here are some simple tips for saving money that will help you get going.
1. Set some goals.
Take a moment to sit down with a cup of coffee and just dream. What’s your perfect vision for your (or your family’s) future? A Caribbean cruise? Kitchen makeover? Making the big move from renting to home ownership? All of these are worthwhile goals. Make a list and prioritize what’s most important for YOU. (And we don’t mean to be pushy here, but that rainy-day emergency fund tops our list.)
2. Stop avoiding the B-word.
Not everyone has the discipline to put a budget in writing. And even once it’s in place, it’s common to succumb to the occasional relapse. Yes, you’ve heard that swapping out your daily latte for a homemade cup of coffee will save money, and it’s true. Small choices like that can have a major impact. Having a budget in place and sticking to it may help you choose your Keurig over that high-end coffee shop. The first step in budgeting is to get a grip on what you spend now. Start by tracking it for just one week. Buy a tiny notepad and pen small enough to keep in your purse or pocket, or download a savings app onto your smartphone. You’ll learn a lot from that process! Once you get a sense of where you’re spending your paycheck, you’ll be inspired to keep going.
3. Start small.
Whether it’s a sticker on the edge of your monitor that reminds you to transfer $25 once a month to savings or a carefully designed Excel spreadsheet that maps your investments over time, what’s important is that you get going on saving. It doesn’t matter how small; if five dollars a week is all you feel comfortable stashing away, do that much. Every habit takes time to establish, and eventually saving will become a normal part of your routine.
4. Find some help.
From one-on-one financial planners to popular radio gurus, a variety of resources stand ready to guide you to financial stability. Can you afford their fees? The fact is, you don’t have to consult a financial planner to get started. There are a number of free online resources and coaching programs available for you to download and use at your leisure. Happy planning!