Financial stability is the goal for billions of people, and, according to experts, the first step is to have a decent savings account.
Depending on who you ask, you’ll hear various opinions. The general idea is that you should have somewhere between three months to one year of expenses stocked away in a rainy day fund.
You may have been well on your way to reaching this goal a few years ago, but lately, most of us, like you, have had plenty of good reasons to break into our “rainy day” savings.
A global pandemic shutting down the world — and your livelihood — was a worthy cause, but now it’s time to start replenishing that fund. Here are a few simple tips to rebuild your savings and financial stability now that we’re all getting back on our feet.
1. Start a Round-Up Account
Let’s start with the hands-down easiest way to get a few dollars into your savings account: a round-up fund.
Round-ups work exactly as they sound. You create an account with a financial service company, which could be your bank. The transaction is rounded up to the nearest dollar when you spend money using your debit card.
The rounded amount goes into the linked savings account. Because it’s spare change, you barely notice it’s missing. It’s the same idea as using a coin jar at home to throw your extra change in, but it’s done for you automatically.
If you use your debit card a lot, this could be a quick way to build back your rainy-day money. And if you invest, check out round-up companies like Acorns, where your spare money is used to cushion your portfolio.
2. Check Your Bills for Updates
When was the last time you looked over your expenses to see where you could be paying less? Saving money could be as simple as getting rid of some unnecessary bills.
Here are some of the easiest ways to knock out a few dollars or more every month.
Your Phone Bill
Shop around for cheaper phone plans. You don’t need to pay for expensive contracts with taxes and fees that cost more than the plan. Look for an unlimited month-to-month service provider with good reviews for reception in your area.
Are you a safe driver? You might not realize this, but the longer you go without a ticket, the lower your insurance rates should be. If you’ve been with the same insurance company for more than six months, check with an agent to see if you can get a lower premium or look for similar coverage with another insurer.
Look At Your Other Insurance Policies
Paying for the wrong insurance policies where you have too much or not enough coverage can also be a waste of funds. Look over your health, life, disability, and other policy terms. Do they cover what you want, and are they worth the cost?
For instance, a physician that works for a large healthcare organization is likely provided access to low-cost disability insurance for doctors. But if that coverage is only for short-term illnesses or injuries, it won’t help them when they need long-term benefits.
In that case, bumping up a policy to include both short- and long-term coverage makes more sense. It costs more each month but is a wiser financial strategy than spending money on a policy that doesn’t keep you and your family safe in the long run.
Review all your policies, and make adjustments for anything that has changed since you first took the coverage out.
3. Pay Off Those Interest-Laden Debts
Getting rid of debt gives you more money to put toward your savings. Start with any bills you have that include interest, and create a plan to pay them off.
Dave Ramsey’s debt snowball method suggests taking the lowest debt and tackling it first. In the meantime, make minimum payments to the rest of your bills.
When the smallest expense is paid, add what you were paying to the next lowest bill. Repeat this process until all your debt is gone, and then start putting that money into your savings account.
Since you’ve been spending it every month on expenses, you won’t even notice it’s not there. This method is a fast way to build your rainy-day fund and become debt-free.
Don’t let the fact that you had to tap into your savings get you down. Millions of people did the same thing to get them through a rough period. Now, turn your focus to replenishing your nest egg with these three simple-to-follow tips.