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The Money Minute - July 2011

5 Tips for Creating a Financial Safety Net

There are a lot of things we can save for – education, a new car, retirement – but it's best to begin with establishing a rainy day fund to stabilize our budgets when the unexpected occurs. Life happens - Job loss, divorce, medical issues, the death of a family member. Many Americans are not in a financial position to weather the storm, so how are they getting by? Many are relying on credit cards or high price, short term loans to help bridge the financial crisis. In some cases, this can be the beginning of a spiral into unmanageable debt.

Apprisen Financial Advocates offers these tips for building an emergency savings account:

  • Think you have no money to save? – Track your expenses. Food and entertainment are the two things within our budget that we frequently have no idea how much we are spending on. Give yourself a weekly allowance for these expenses and put the extra you were spending into your account.
  • Create a savings plan that ties into a budget. – Having a plan in place where every dollar that is coming into your household is accounted for will help you keep your spending under control and your savings goals achievable..
  • Pay yourself first and make it easy to do so. – Have a portion of your check directly deposited into a savings account. Be realistic in the amount. If you can only deposit $20 and keep it there it is more beneficial then depositing $100 and withdrawing it. 
  • Save your change. – It's that simple. Find a colorful jar that lets you see your progress. You don't have to be saving hundreds of dollars a month to start. Every little bit adds up. 
  • Make your savings hard to get. – Don't have your emergency savings account linked to your checking account online or ATM access to your savings account. If you need money from the account it will be there, but you may find out that you are less likely to spend it if you have to go to the bank and get it.

For more consumer financial information, visit the Learning Center.

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