Saving for life events, large purchases, and short- and long-term goals
Learn how to get started building your budget and personal money management skills.
Have you been dreaming about a wedding, traveling, buying a new car, starting a family, or making a down payment on a house? Or are you anticipating an event like losing your job, the death of a family member, or a divorce? Whatever the reason, people often have large expenses in their life that their typical monthly budget cannot cover.
You might feel like you are struggling just to make ends meet or that you have no money available to put in a savings account. That’s all the more reason to start learning about personal money management.
Setting goals and doing a little at a time can pay off big in the long run.
Plan for the unexpected. Saving is especially important for unexpected events, like illness or job loss. Some planning now can mean a lot less stress when difficult events do occur.
It’s never too early! Many of these major life events may be far in your future. That’s actually a great reason to start saving right now. It gives you more time to plan and means you can save smaller amounts over a longer period of time to meet your goal.
Find your motivation. It can be easier to cut out expenses (like eating out, streaming services, your daily latte, cable) when you know what you are saving for. Here are some questions to ask yourself:
- Will cutting back now lead to a better quality of life in the long run? (For example, do you need to buy supplies or tools for your new job or business or pay for education expenses?)
- Does sacrificing a little now mean you will get to enjoy something even better later (like a vacation, your wedding, your retirement, giving birth to or adopting a child, or buying your own home)?
- Will saving now give you priceless peace of mind knowing you will be prepared for the unexpected?
Identify your motivation and remind yourself of it regularly.
Track your spending. It is hard to save when you don’t know where your money is going. Figure out how much money is coming in each month (your take-home pay after taxes and other deductions come out), then track and categorize your expenses.
Start by looking at your credit card and bank statements. List your fixed monthly expenses (e.g., rent or mortgage, utilities, cell phone, internet, car payments, etc.). Next, list expenses that are monthly but variable, meaning they can change a bit from month to month (e.g., groceries, gas, entertainment). Consider keeping an ongoing list of daily spending throughout the month (use a pen and notebook, an app on your phone, or a budgeting spreadsheet) to see how and where you are spending.
Once you know where your money is going, you can start looking for where it would be easiest to cut back on expenses. You’ll want to make a budget and stick to it to ensure you are able to meet your new savings goals.
Set reasonable goals. Figure out how much you need to save and break it down into a reasonable amount per month. Short-term goals might take one to three years to achieve. These include saving for a trip or large purchase, setting up an emergency fund, or paying down credit card debt. Long-term goals may take decades to reach. These can include saving for retirement or your child’s education.
Your goals don’t have to be set in stone, but knowing what they are can make them feel more attainable and help motivate you to stick to a budget.
Talk to your banker. Contact Heritage Bank to speak to one of our friendly bankers about what savings options are best for you and your specific goals. We offer several savings and investment options to help your meet your short- and long-term savings goals.
It all adds up! There are lots of ways to save. Cut out one restaurant meal a week. Start making your coffee at home. Make a grocery list and stick to it. See if you can lower your internet, cell phone or electric bill. Consider buying second-hand and cutting out name brands. These are all small steps that can add up over time and save you big money.
Don’t forget to review your budget and spending regularly. Your budget may change with pay raises, job changes or new expenses. And your spending may creep back up and require periodic reevaluating and trimming.
Setting aside even a little each month can add up to a lot in the long term. You may be surprised how quickly your nest egg grows once you get in the habit of budgeting and saving!
Heritage Bank was founded to ensure local individuals and families could work with bankers who know their names and understand their goals. Stop by your nearest branch or give us a call to learn more about how we can help sharpen your money management skills and save for the future.
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