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Do you find it challenging to set aside money for an emergency fund or to pay for luxuries such as vacations, new furniture or other items that you know you really shouldn’t put on your credit card?
If your employer offers a retirement savings plan, maybe you put aside money in there as an automatic deduction. You don’t even miss it and to encourage you to go to work one more day, you check it to see how wealthy you’re going to be 30 years from now.
Using the same principle, you can set up a savings habit and before long have a stash of cash which you can access anytime you need it. A simple, at-home, savings account can be taking your loose change from your pockets and billfold and placing it in a piggy bank. Within a couple of months, you may have added up $60 or more.
Another secure way to add up a savings or emergency fund is to take advantage of round-up programs. Those work by your buying things and the program automatically rounds up your purchase. For example, if you buy $8.75 in gasoline at the 7-11, a round-up program, such as Acorns, will charge $9. The gas merchant will get their $8.75 and the quarter will go into a savings account. Within a few weeks or couple of months, you realistically could save over $300.
Since it launched in 2014, Acorns has added beneficial features for participants, such as debit cards and partnerships with other merchants who will contribute to your account if you buy their products. The best added feature, though, is Acorns is sensitive to your accounts. So, if your funds get low in your checking, Acorns will automatically pause withdrawals until you get your next paycheck. That is a huge benefit, so you don’t have to worry about pausing the program yourself and risk overdraft fees from your bank.
Your bank may offer this round up program, too, and if you can resist frequent transfers of money from the savings back into checking, then this may be more convenient for you.
If your employer has the technological sophistication, you can ask your human resources department to split your paycheck into two separate accounts of your choosing. Some people have a bank or credit union account only for monthly expenses that are on automatic payment. This can be helpful if you need to have strict boundaries around your spending.
Should you need help tracking your money, Mint is a free program for the consumer which can help you monitor your credit score and give you updates on the latest interest rates. How it’s free for the consumer is that the Intuit-owned program makes its money through referral fees to companies they promote.
Unexpected events happen all the time. When my mother went into a nursing home, I was able to make more frequent trips to visit her because of saving money through Acorns, rather than charging it to my credit card. Maybe you will have some unexpected necessary trips or have a desire to take a vacation. Wouldn’t it be nice to do that and have it paid free and clear all by saving money without even thinking about it?