Dear Money & Crisis Reader,
Could you afford an urgent $500 expense right now?
I’m talking about a medical emergency… or some urgent home repair…
What if I gave you a week to put together the cash?
How about a month?
If you could…
You’re more financially secure than 63% of Americans.
I’m not yanking your chain here.
According to Bankrate.com, two-thirds of Americans don’t have enough savings on hand to pay for a $500 emergency.
And this isn’t just low-income families, either.
This includes middle-class and even some high-income earners.
Which makes sense.
Like I’ve always said, saving money isn’t an income problem; it’s an attitude problem.
Some people simply don’t want to save…
While others don’t think they need to save…
But as we discussed recently, even folks with six-figure salaries are at constant risk of financial ruin without an emergency fund.
I know that it’s hard to save money when everything is going great… when you have a good job… and the economy is booming….
But this is the best time to save — when you have the time and money to prepare.
Everything might be rosy now, but disaster could be right around the corner. And it will be too late to start saving when it strikes.
Don’t worry if you’re in a savings slump. It happens to all of us.
Just use these three slump-smashing tips to kick your savings into gear.
The easiest way to fail at saving is to make general, nonspecific promises to yourself.
It’s all well and good to say, “I’m going to save more,” but without a specific goal, you’re doomed to fail.
Believe me. I’ve tried the “We’ll spend less and save what’s left over” technique.
It might work for the first month or two.
And that’s going to feel pretty good… but that will only lull you into a false sense of security.
That’s when the backsliding happens.
A nice dinner out here… A new phone there…
Before long, you’re back to your old habits and living paycheck to paycheck.
On the other hand, if you make a specific plan, you’re far more likely to succeed.
Start by deciding how much money you want to save over a six-month period.
Then simply divide that number by six and save that much every month.
At the end of those six months, you’ll have a tidy chunk of change in your emergency fund.
At that point, you should take the time to reassess your financial situation and make a plan for the next six months (after patting yourself on the back, of course).
Wrestling with the temptation to spend or save money sucks.
So I say, “Don’t do it.”
Take the temptation out of the equation and automate the process entirely.
Have your employer deposit $X from your paycheck into a savings account.
This way, you’re guaranteed to save $X every year… and you’re never faced with the temptation to spend the money.
Honestly, this strategy was an absolute game changer for me.
The first year I took it for a spin, I saved more money than I ever had before…
It was incredible… and I barely even had to think about it.
How can spending money be part of a plan to save money?
It’s simple really.
I’m all about simple savings strategies that actually work.
It’s all well and good to go around telling folks to save 40% of their take-home pay.
But nobody’s going to actually do that.
Because nothing kills the motivation to save like trying to “do without” all the things you love.
In fact, I consider “savings burnout” the No. 1 threat to your ability to save.
That’s why it’s important to work with a budget that allows you to actually enjoy yourself.
A few years ago, my wife and I realized we needed to seriously cut down on eating out.
It was by far one of our biggest luxury expenditures… and was costing us a fortune.
Since then, we’ve really cut back… but we still try to go out for a nice meal about twice a month.
We don’t go anywhere lavish or overly expensive.
Just somewhere that serves good, simple food where we can catch up over a couple of beers or a bottle of wine.
Being able to enjoy those nights out without worrying about money makes it all worth it.
Of course, you’ll need to take your own lifestyle and interests into account.
Include the things you love in your financial plan and you’ll be far more likely to succeed.
All the best,
Editor, Money & Crisis