In our June 2019 newsletter, Danielle Woods wrote an informative article - The Savings Crisis: Why are American’s so Ill-Prepared? In that article, she listed several recommendations to help create a personal financial plan as well as tips to set attainable savings goals.
To reiterate and expand upon the points in that article, here are some planning and financial tools to help you save money.
“Like a lot of things that are good for you, it’s a lifestyle choice”
The more you pay attention and plan for your spending, the easier it will get. If you start and stop a few times, it’s okay! Once you are fully aware of your spending habits, the easier it will be to make helpful tweaks over time.
Start with a plan:
Set a budget by tracking all your bank and credit card transactions for the past 2-3 months. After taking a close look at the necessary expenses vs. the not-so-necessary, create a reasonable budget for the next 3 months. Stick to it and see what you learn.
Set attainable goals:
Ideally, you have at least 2-3 months’ worth of expenses in cash savings. Maybe this is your first goal. Setting aside small amounts each month will add up. If you already have a cash cushion, focus on Retirement Savings.
“Organization and discipline will make you a much happier and financially stable person.”
Here are some of our favorite methods to help you stay organized and stick to your plan:
Tools to Keep You On Task
- We utilize MoneyGuide Pro software to create robust financial plans. The software creates what-if scenarios using your actual financial data to either reassure you’re on track or motivate you to get there. Plans start as low as $300.
- Higher Savings Rates are available from various online banks these days. Both Discover and American Express (among others) will set you up with an account earning up to 2%. Sites like MaxMyInterest.com also provides savings account solutions.
- Microsoft Excel provides a blank slate for basic budgeting and tracking. We can provide you with a template for your personal use.
- Monthly Contributions to your retirement accounts or taxable savings accounts using an auto feature makes it easy to stay consistent. You also reap the benefits of dollar cost averaging.
- Roth IRAs provide incredible retirement and tax savings, and they are so easy to use. Deposit money after-tax now and never pay tax on those funds again. These are particularly helpful to young people getting started.
- Quicken/Quickbooks online software provides makes it incredibly easy to track your spending. It is especially helpful if you are a small business owner.
- Apps such as You Need A Budget and Mint may be helpful if you prefer a handy resource on your phone.
Last but not least, WE are a valuable resource! We enjoy hearing about everyone’s unique situation and determining how we can help. Whether you need an entire plan or just some direction, we are more than happy to meet with you in person, over the phone or via email.