Home > Learning Center > Personal Resource Center > Start Saving Start Simple
  • Start Saving, Start Simple

    Figuring out a plan to start saving money can be a tricky topic.

    Saving money can be a hard subject for many Americans to grasp.How much should you save a month? Should you pay off your debt first before you start to save? Should you consider investing your money rather than saving?

    There's no perfect answer, so you will need to develop a savings/investment plan that fits your particular situation and long-term financial goals.

    It can be a challenge to save some of your hard-earned cash each month, but it can give you the ability to take advantage of opportunities as they arise, like starting a new business, going back to college, or investing in a company or the stock market, and even save for a more secure financial future. We can help you get a better understanding of what is out there.

    A super simple money-saving plan
    If you're like a lot of Americans, the easier the savings plan, the easier it is to actually save money. Richmond, Va., WWBT recently reported a simple money-saving tactic from financial advisor Steve Overton.

    He said you should save one dollar the first week, two dollars the second week, three dollars the third week and so on. After 52 weeks of saving, you'll be at almost $1,400. "If you're not a saver, this is a great, gimmicky way to remember to save," Overton told WWBT.

    If you want to take it up a notch and opt for a more advanced savings strategy, you should consider what Overton had to say.

    "Half a week's pay per month is a great place to start," Overton said. "If you're making $500 a week, and you can save $250 a month, that's a great way to save - but there's no silver bullet or one size fits all with saving. Everyone's situation is different."

    Overton offered an additional idea. As soon as you receive your paycheck, immediately put that money aside for certain expenses that you know are necessary, such as food, transportation and other bills. You can even reserve some cash at the start of each month for entertainment purposes, which might go a long way in helping keep your expenses and monthly debt at a minimum. "When you wake up in the morning, you have some savings," Overton said. "That's a far better deal than going, 'How am I going to pay this bill at the end of the month?' You choose how to live. If you save, it'll change your life."

    Stop buying unneccessary items
    There is an obvious difference between your financial wants and needs. For example, you need to eat, keep up with your housing costs and pay your taxes.

    Create a realistic budget and stick with it. This will let you to plan for both the present and the future and keep your unnecessary spending to a minimum. By reviewing your monthly bills, you might be able to better calculate which purchases are necessary and which are not. Don't look at cutting your spending as depriving yourself. Rather, recognize it as investing in yourself and in your future.

    Don't be fearful of investing
    Maybe you're not good with money or numbers, but that doesn't mean you should be afraid to invest. The earlier you get on the ball, the better. And don't think if you are making small contributions to your savings account - such as the aforementioned additional dollar a week savings plan - that it won't have an impact. The sooner you start saving, the better chance you'll have of living comfortably in retirement.