A recent survey shows that more than half of Americans have less than $1,000 in their savings account, and 39% have no savings at all.
Dedicating just one hour to change your bad financial habits can add up big savings.
Shane Eighme with Shane and Shane Financial offered advice ahead of America Saves Week, which begins Monday.
1. Get Organized
• Take one hour each day this week to get both your finances and your home in order.
• By cutting out clutter, you may find extra things around your house to sell. You might also find duplicate items like batteries or lightbulbs that you can now take off your shopping list.
• It’s also important to organize your finances by taking inventory of your accounts. A lot of people have multiple accounts or even use multiple banks.
• You should make a list with the type of account, information on how to access it, the account holder and the contact information.
• If you’re married, review this list with your spouse. I also recommend my clients who are in retirement go over that list with their adult children.
2. Create a Budget
• You know how much money is coming in every month, so you need to know how much is going out.
• Use one hour of your day to write down every expense you have for the month. Include big bills like your rent or mortgage and your utilities. It’s also important to include how much you are spending on food and entertainment.
• After you balance your finances, you can then determine how much money you are able to put into a seperate account and save each month.
• I have a budget worksheet on my website, shaneandshanefinancial.com, to help you get started.
3. Automate Your Savings
• I recommend my clients put 10-15% of their paycheck into a retirement account like a 401(k).
• After determining how much money you are able to save, set up automatic withdrawals. The best way to do this is to take the money right from your paycheck and put it into your retirement account.
• You can take it a step further by setting up automatic transfers from your checking account to a savings account or emergency fund.
• By automating your savings, you won’t forget to set money aside each month. If it’s coming directly from your paycheck, you likely won’t miss it.
4. Deal with Debt
• The average U.S. household with credit card debt owes nearly $16,000.
• It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by debt, so it’s important to get organized and make a plan to pay it off. Start by organizing your debt by account, total amount due, interest rate and monthly payment.
• Then attack the lowest balance first while making minimum payments on the rest.
• Once you get that first account paid off, move to your card with the second lowest balance. By watching your debt disappear, you’ll gain momentum to keep going.
• By taking care of your debt and the interest you pay on it, you will save yourself money and stress down the road.