A penny saved is a penny earned — sounds simple right? Not so much. We all know that saving money is no easy feat. Life is expensive, and money can be really fun to spend — bills, plus drinks with the girls, plus emergencies, can equal an empty savings account. The worst part? Not having savings can make you feel pretty bad. We’ve all experienced financial guilt at one point or another.
PurePoint Financial found that millennial women are the most likely to feel embarrassed about their savings. On average, millennial women have a median balance of only $400, so we know that not saving feels bad. But how good does saving money feel? Apparently, really good. Their research also found that 72 percent of millennial women were most likely to choose saving $250 as their most rewarding activity. Saving money beat out waking up early to finish Saturday morning chores, getting a good deal, and losing five pounds.
When fantasizing about the future, millennial women overwhelmingly dream about not having to worry about money. This makes sense considering the same research found that more than half of millennial women are reviewing their monthly budget and how much they’re spending “all the time.” If you’re feeling financially anxious and like it’s time to up your savings game, consider these tips for saving more.
If you’re struggling to build your savings, it might be time to take another look at your budget. Here’s the thing about budgets: there are a million ways to make one work for you. There are plenty of great budgeting systems that already exist that you can follow, so commit to a little trial and error until you find a formula that you can stick with. Budgeting with envelopes filled with cash may work well for you, or maybe all that cash makes you feel disorganized. Logging every purchase might keep you accountable, or drive you nuts. Perhaps you’d prefer to use an app designed to help you budget like YNAB.
Want a foolproof way to save money? Invest it in a way you can’t touch it. Playing the stock market might not be your cup of tea, but putting your money into a retirement account that you can’t touch without risking penalties can do the trick. Consider investing more into your 401(k) or an IRA. You don’t have to have an employee sponsored-plan to access these types of accounts, and the fact that you’re more likely to never pull money out of them makes them a great savings vehicle.
Only 41 percent of consumers add to their savings account by direct deposits. Consider making your savings a part of your monthly budget no matter what. Just like you’ve set up bills for automatic payment or for contributions to your retirement fund, consider doing the same for your savings account. Even if you can only consistently afford to contribute a small amount from each paycheck by setting the money aside for savings automatically, it will be easier for you to save it.
Another way to give your savings a little boost is by making sure you’re using a high yield savings account. We broke down the benefits of five popular high-yield savings accounts here, but this is what you need to know: there are savings accounts that offer more than 2 percent APY on the money you have stashed in your savings account. By utilizing a high-yield savings account, your money will grow a lot faster than it would in a typical savings account. If you’re doing the hard work of saving all that money, you might as well make it do some of the heavy lifting!
The fastest way to get into debt is by not having a big enough emergency savings fund. A new survey from Varo shows that while most Americans hope to retire between the ages of 50 and 60, most don’t even have enough money to cover an emergency bill tomorrow — let alone contribute to the savings plan they’ll need to get them to an early retirement. Again, millennial women are in an even trickier situation when it comes to financial emergencies. 61 percent of millennials don’t have $500 to cover an emergency expense. Unfortunately, that percentage is even higher for millennial women, as 65 percent of them don’t have that amount saved.
Take creating an emergency fund seriously. Even if you only put in $25 a month, that amount will add up over the years. Ideally you won’t ever have to face a financial emergency, but when you do, it will be a lot less stressful if you have money saved. Not only will you have peace of mind, but being able to afford financial emergencies can even make your savings grow. Yes, you’ll be pulling from savings to cover a car accident or home repair, but you won’t be going into debt, which is what will cost you big time in interest and fees.