Develop strategies to save money effectively
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Find simple tips to save money effectively so you can achieve your goals!

Being able to save money effectively is essential. Savings provides the foundation to achieve your goals and helps you get out of living paycheck-to-paycheck. But how do you achieve healthy savings on a tight budget with all your bills and other obligations?

These articles talk about the latest tips and techniques for saving money effectively.  Learn better ways to set money aside consistently and the best strategies for making it grow so you can reach your goals.

The Apathy Ends personal finance blog logo

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He and his wife “took action” after receiving a year-end tax document.

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Almost one-quarter of Americans say debt is their top financial stressor. But it’s more than half of all the states in the union. How can they get out of it?

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Brush off that wilted spinach and climb out of the grocery store dumpster.

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He and his wife eat healthier now and save more money.

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Even if you’re working to pay off credit card and other debt, you can still go out for a nice meal.

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More Americans living in Southern states can put more money toward their student loan debt since cost of living is cheaper.

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But even with those, they can’t keep up with older generations

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August 21, 2017 | Howard Dvorkin, CPA

It has to do with cars, but not really auto loans.

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They’re the furthest from retirement, but it’s still one of their main goals.

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They aren’t aware their employers offer insurance for costs unrelated to healthcare.

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Employee-sponsored retirement plans are dying because workers are taking out loans without paying them back or leave a job without taking their retirement with them.

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A reader is mad, but is his anger misplaced?

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Hondas, plus Ford and Chevy pickups are the favorite vehicles of thieves

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If the Kroger ‘1-2-3 Rewards Card’ isn’t the worst, it’s close.

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Most American households can’t afford new cars in all but one of the largest metro areas in the country.

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Start saving for homeownership, retirement and emergencies.

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The rub? More than half of Americans worry they can’t afford it

6 Smart Tips for How to Save Money More Effectively

#1: Make savings automatic

Anytime you can set up a system to work without you, it’s more likely to work. If you have to remember to set aside money each month before you spend it, it’s less likely to occur. So, you want to make savings automatic.

The best idea is to ask your HR department to split the Direct Deposit for your paycheck. Allocate 5-10% of your income to deposit directly into your savings account while the rest goes to checking. This way, you don’t even have to think about setting money aside. Otherwise, set up a recurring monthly transfer from your checking to your savings account.

#2: Establish a short-term emergency fund first

Your first savings goal should be to have a $1,000 balance that you maintain in your main savings account. This should be the minimum balance that you try to keep in the account so you have funds to cover most emergencies. Then you can use the funds if your car breaks down, you have an expensive home repair or an unexpected medical bill.

As you’ll see below, this is not the full financial safety net you need. But it’s a good, solid first milestone that you can aim to achieve.

#3: Next aim for 3-6 months of budgeted expenses

A true emergency fund is big enough to cover all your bills and necessary budgeted expenses for up to 6 months. This means you can be out of work due to unemployment or a medical issue for half a year without facing financial distress. You don’t have to rely on high interest rate credit cards to cover your expenses or take out costly payday loans.

Total up all the necessary expenses in your budget and multiply by three. This gives you the next savings milestone you should aim for after your basic $1,000 emergency fund.

#4: Don’t be afraid of investing

A traditional savings account typically has an interest rate of less than 1%. In fact, 1% is considered a “high rate” when it comes to savings accounts. The problem is that such a low rate means it takes a long time for your money to grow. You’ll be lucky if you ever achieve your goals with such little growth.

In order to save money effectively, you must make those savings grow effectively. This means you need better growth rates than your basic savings account can offer. Without more robust investment tools, it will be hard to achieve stable long-term savings.

#5: Consider cash equivalents

If you don’t like the risk of the stock market and you prefer to start small, look to cash equivalents first. Cash equivalents refer to any investment that you can easily convert to cash. This actually includes basic checking and savings accounts, as well as investments like Money Market Accounts and Certificates of Deposit.

Money Market Accounts function like savings accounts, except they usually have higher minimum balance requirements. The applied interest rate is usually higher, too. In fact, most MMAs work on a tiered rate system. This means the more you save and the higher your account balance, the higher your rate of return, too.

CDs are a type of short-term investment that also offer better rates for saving. You deposit a certain amount of money that matures over a certain term; typically, terms range from one week up to five or ten years. At the end of the term, you withdraw the money or let it roll over for another term. This type of savings can be good to hit specific goals like we will describe below.

#6: Allocate savings for specific goals

Think about savings in terms of specific goals that you want to reach. For instance, you would have your basic savings and emergency fund, long-term retirement savings, and then savings that you allocate for certain purposes. This will help you save strategically and ensure the money doesn’t get spent.

So, let’s say you want to buy a car next year. You have $3,000 in savings that you want to use for the down payment. If you put that money into a 12-month CD, it can grow for a year and it’s not sitting in your savings account where it can get spent. Allocating savings this way helps ensure you can pay for specific goals with less need for financing. You can also pay for things like vacations without high interest rate credit card debt coming home with you.