Saving money is incredibly important. You never know when you’re going to need an extra thousand dollars or more. You may end up laid off and looking for work. You may have to pay for an unexpected home or car repair, or you may have medical expenses you never dreamt possible. If you’re struggling to make it from paycheck to paycheck today without adding strain to your credit card, how are you going to manage things when an emergency arises?
For years, we’ve been told by financial planners to have at least three months worth of mortgage payments in a savings account just in case we lose our job and need to hang on to our house. Yet, we learn of people every day that are caught off-guard even though they had good-paying jobs and plenty of opportunity to save.
The trouble is, none of us likes to think of the worst. We’d rather start saving for hard times tomorrow instead of today.
Planning for emergencies is the first step in preparing for our financial future. We need a safety net in case the bottom falls out. Once we have our emergency fund, we can start saving for retirement or a college fund for our children.
Start with a budget. It’s hard to save money if you aren’t sure where your money is being spent. Take a month and track every dollar you spend. Keep a record of where your money is going and then decide if any of those expenses aren’t necessary. Cut your spending there first. For example, if you’re spending more than you’d like on fast food, give yourself a set fast food budget for the month and set aside the money you save for the things you really want.
When you’re saving money and living within a budget, it pays to track your finances tenaciously. That’s easy to do with the Financial Plans Supplement for your planner. It’s a comprehensive set of supplemental forms to take the strain and guesswork out of your finances.
No amount of planning can prepare us for some things, but every little bit helps. Take some time today to look over your finances to see where you can start saving for tomorrow.
Preparing for your future is a very personal matter. For some great tips and advice, check out Money 911 by Jean Chatzky. It’s a great help when you want to prepare for retirement, buy or sell a home, pick up the pieces of your personal finances, or get back on your feet-and stay there.