This past year and a half has proven to be challenging unlike any other. Many people have faced salary cuts or being let go from their jobs, which can have a major impact on savings and future plans. As a result, many people have found that they’ve been dipping into their savings more frequently than normal to cover major expenses like mortgages, rent payments, car loans, and other bills.

Life throws us curve balls; it’s inevitable. Things like job changes, dips in the economy, and unforeseen emergencies happen and our previously smooth-running budget plans take a hit. So, how do you rebuild your savings when faced with these kinds of challenges? For starters (and you may have already realized this), having an emergency savings is a crucial component to having and maintaining a healthy budget—and it can be the key to getting you through tough times. And simple budgeting planning can assist in creating a strong emergency savings.

To rebuild, it’s essential that you ask yourself some frank questions—and answer them honestly. Anytime you have a financial change it’s important to sit down and re-evaluate the household income and expenses.

Ask Yourself Some Hard-Hitting Questions 

What amount were you saving before this financial change? Is it realistic to continue saving that amount? Were you putting away 5% or 10% of your monthly income? Are there any extra expenses that can be reduced (cable, subscription programs, gym memberships, or other non-essentials)? Would a part-time job to supplement the income be worth exploring?

You may have to adjust your budget and finances to ensure you can still maintain your core bills that are due each month. First and foremost, it’s important to make a plan. And try not to get discouraged. You’ve made it through a setback and it’s impossible to rebuild your savings overnight. It takes time to get back on track but making a realistic plan that you can stick to is the first step.

Savings Tips to Move Forward 

All things considered, there are ways you can still save money without further jeopardizing your finances. Here are some tips to help keep you and your money moving forward:

  • Pay yourself first each paycheck: Paying yourself first doesn’t mean that you reward yourself first. Sure, it’s fun to treat yourself to a new outfit or movie now and then. But these should not take priority over your bills. It can be $25 or $200—whatever fits your budget—but make sure you put a little bit of money into your savings after each paycheck.

  • Direct deposit: Direct depositing a portion of your paychecks into a savings account can help. Just set it up and forget it. You can also use these automatic savings strategies to make putting away that extra money even easier.

  • Save money for bills: Treat your savings like a priority bill. Don’t wait until your other bills have been paid. If you wait, you may risk spending your extra money before you put it into savings.

  • Set savings goals: Set your savings goal to 10% of your net income. If you can’t do that percentage right away, that’s fine! Aim for a more realistic number that still fits your budget. Every little bit helps. But try to make that 10 percent your ultimate goal. If you are able to save more than 10% of your net income, that’s even better!

  • Save whatever and whenever you can: Contribute small additional amounts anytime you can. Even if you save $5 one week and $50 the next—every little bit helps grow your savings! There may also be times during the year that you receive extra money—think birthdays, anniversaries, tax refunds, bonuses, etc. Be sure to put that extra cash directly into your savings account.

Right now, you may be thinking or feeling that rebuilding your savings account after a setback is a daunting task. But the good news is you can do it. It just takes careful planning and persistence.

Take Comfort with GOLD and GreenPath 

As always, all of us at GOLD are on your side. We’re here to help you achieve personal financial success. We’ve partnered with national non-profit, GreenPath Financial Wellness, to help move your dreams forward. GreenPath offers personalized one-on-one assistance and counseling. Their financial counselors truly care about you and take time to listen and understand your personal financial situation. They’ll work with you to look at your spending habits and create a plan to get you on the right track to reach your financial goals.

Visit GreenPath’s website for more details or to get started.

GreenPath Financial Wellness

GreenPath Financial Wellness

Our partner, GreenPath Financial Wellness, provided this blog content. GreenPath is a national non-profit organization whose mission is to empower people to take charge of their financial futures. As a Member of GOLD, you have access to GreenPath’s educational tools and resources that are geared to help you along your journey of reaching financial success. 

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