Do you just have “money in savings” or have you actually decided what that money is for?
When clients first start working with me, they are excited they have money in savings but tell me they struggle to leave the money in the savings account.
They end up taking it out when they go over on their budget or need to buy something.
I will usually ask a few questions:
- Where is the money located? Is it linked to your main checking account?
- What is this money for? Is it tied to a savings goal?
Usually it is linked to their main checking (sometimes it is not) but normally it doesn’t have a specific purpose.
That is the issue.
Give Each Dollar a Purpose
Savings is SO important but you have to give that money a purpose.
Once you know exactly what that money will be used for, it will:
- Keep you on track to reach your savings goals
- Make it more difficult to pull the money out because you will be taking from a specific goal
For example, If you have $5,000 in savings but no purpose for it, you are not as attached to the money.
It is easy to just “borrow” $100 because it’s “just your savings”. You have plans to put the money back but usually it doesn’t happen.
If you have:
$2,000 emergency fund
$2,000 house down payment
$500 repair fund
$500 annual car insurance
You know exactly what the money is for and if you need to “borrow” from your savings you will have to decide what goal you will take it from. Do you really need that $100 if it will be coming from your emergency fund? Or your house down payment fund?
If you find yourself going over budget every month you need to:
- Track your expenses to figure out the leak
- Redo your budget based on what you are actually spending (not what you think you will spend)
- Add in fun money or things you value if that is what you want to spend on
- Cut unnecessary expenses
- Plan ahead so you have fewer unexpected expenses
You shouldn’t just have money in savings. You should have specific goals you are saving for.
This should include sinking funds and your emergency fund.
High-Yield Savings Account
You also need to open a HYSA (High-yield Savings Account). You should not have all of your savings in your traditional bank (especially if it is linked to your checking account).
That makes it SO easy to transfer money out of savings whenever you need it and you aren’t making any money in interest. My BOA savings account rate is .01% which is AWFUL.
My favorite HYSA is Ally Bank but do your research and choose one that works for you. I love Ally for many reasons but especially their buckets feature so check it out.
You can still keep an amount you are comfortable with in your traditional bank but I don’t recommend keeping too much there. I personally keep around $550 in that account but if you need a little more that is fine.
The bulk of your savings should be in a HYSA and labeled with specific goals. The Ally buckets feature allows you to allocate money to specific goals within one account which is why I love Ally.
You can also track manually either in excel or paper/pen. I have a free sinking fund tracker in my free resources so make sure to check it out.
You can 100% save for wants and I always recommend my clients save for things on their wants list. You don’t need to deprive yourself but you can’t keep pulling from your savings account if you want to get ahead financially and actually reach your goals.
PSA: It is not really saving money if you keep pulling money from your savings account.
If that triggered you, you need to really review your goals and your savings accounts so you make the necessary changes now.
If you are overwhelmed and feel like you need additional help, reach out! I have an entire module on saving for the future in Flourish FinanciALLI (my signature group coaching program).