I’m sure you have all had at least one meeting with a rainy day misfortune; an unexpected trip to the hospital, a cracked pipe, a car transmission that decided to throw in the towel or any of the other forms it chooses to come in. While you probably were able to handle the expense with perhaps the aid of a credit card or dipping into our general savings, it would have been so much nicer to have had an emergency savings in place. That way you could have emerged from the misfortune still a step ahead instead of now a step behind.
As obvious as this sounds, the true key to building a savings is self-discipline. Sometimes this means, having discipline before a situation arises.
Having read “How to Create Barriers to Your Savings” by PT Money today on WiseBread, I was reminded of my college days and wished, I had, first of all, thought of savings as savings and not as “deferred spending,” and second, that I had protected my savings from myself. I raided it pretty regularly every 3 to 4 months.
Now, in our workshops at Debt Reduction Services Inc, we teach this very concept for emergency savings. There are some steps we suggest you follow in order to take your self-discipline out of the equation and get you on your way to a solid emergency savings fund.
Steps for Protecting Your Savings
- Automate the deposits into your savings accounts, but make it difficult to get to them. Unless you’re extremely disciplined, you should not even have your savings with the same bank/credit union as your checking.
- Creating online savings accounts can be a good idea too unless even transferring money from the comfort of your own home and waiting a few days is still too much of a temptation. Otherwise, you could consider using a bank or credit union that doesn’t have a branch within 20 miles of your home, work, or other areas you frequent regularly.
- And certainly ask your institution to block any online or telephone transfers capabilities.That way, if you have to actually go into a bank or credit union to withdraw the funds, it’s much more likely that it would take a real emergency to motivate you to do so.
- Give yourself the gift of another savings account; a place where you can save (through a lesser contribution) separately for non-emergency expenses like your next family vacation or another big-ticket item you’ve been dreaming of. Prioritize the deposits to your emergency fund, but enjoy seeing your progress as you also save towards something fun and fulfilling. This, too, will help your emergency savings stay intact.
Director of Education
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