If you got a bill for $387.81 right now, could you pay it off without using your credit cards, begging family members, or taking out a payday loan with a huge interest rate? It just so happens that $387.81 is the average cost of a car repair when the check engine light comes on. If your savings account has more cobwebs in it than dollars, you aren’t alone.
According to Bankrate.com, 63% of Americans admitted that they couldn’t pay a $500 car repair bill.
If you don’t have an emergency savings account, then you are living on the edge of financial stability. You are one check engine light, minor surgery, or pink slip away from landing into an ever-increasing debt hole.
The best way to protect yourself is simply to start saving so that you have a cushion to absorb life’s surprise expenses. In a perfect world, experts suggest you should save up enough to cover at least six months’ worth of expenses in case you ever lose your job and need a while to get back on your feet again. However, this is the real world.
If you are living from paycheck to paycheck, then it’s probably more reasonable to make a goal to save $1,000 this year. (If you’re feeling a little more secure, then up your goal to $2,000 by the end of the year.)
That may seem like an impossible feat, but it actually breaks down to saving less than $20 a week. You can find $20 a week, right? It might not be easy, but we’re here to help.
Take the 21-Day Savings Challenge
The hardest part of making a change in your life is often just taking the first step. With each step, you build momentum, which turns into a habit, and eventually saving can become a completely natural part of your life. That’s why we created the 21-Day Savings Makeover. When you submit your email address, you’ll receive one easy step to take each day to help build your savings account.
Maybe you’re already doing some steps, or maybe some of them won’t make sense for your situation. We bet, though, that at least some of these ideas will be doable for you. When you put them in place, you’ll see that saving is easier than you think.
Don’t Go It Alone
Want to increase your chances of reaching your $1,000 savings goal? You’ll have a better shot at success if you recruit a friend to save with you. The two of you can hold each other accountable at the end of each month and even send screenshots of your savings account to each other. Knowing that someone is counting on you can make you skip the movie theater or the $5 latte or encourage you to sign up for the extra shift at work.
To really rev up your motivation to save, consider starting a Money Club ®in your area with your friends or co-workers. Money Clubs® are absolutely free to join, and the purpose of the program is to help women become more financially fluent, confident, and savvy. A Money Club® will help you learn how to save, budget, and address your money “emotions.”
Don’t worry. You don’t need to be a financial advisor or Certified Professional Accountant to run a Money Club®. Anyone can do it. We provide all the materials for each meeting, which you review with the other members of the club. Ask your friends if they could pay a bill for $387.81. If not, then encourage them to join a Money Club with you.
First though, start your 21-day Savings Makeover today, and start on the road to financial stability. You can also find great budgeting and planning advice written just for women in our article archives.