Building emergency savings from scratch can seem incredibly overwhelming, especially when many sources state a wide range of savings needed. Experts polled gave recommendations anywhere between 1 to 6 months of coverage. The common thread was that you do need to build yourself a money “cushion.” Rainy day savings will help soften the blow of unexpected expenses or future financial gaps. You might be asking yourself, how can I start saving for a rainy day, today? It’s easier than it seems, and we’re here to help you build or rebuild your emergency savings. Learn our 20 real (and easy) financial tips below to help you start saving meaningful money today that will be there to help you down the road.
1. Auto-pay recurring bills
Most major utilities and household services have auto-pay as an option. By turning on this helpful feature, it will ensure essential bills are always paid on time, in full. Small late fees across many monthly bills can add up fast.
2. Earn higher interest on “digital” piggy bank
We’re moving away from cash transactions, but one of the most valuable financial habits left behind is tossing your extra pocket change in a jar or piggy bank at the end of the day. We created your “digital” jar with card Auto-Save. Every One card purchase is rounded up to the next dollar then automatically deposited into your Auto-Save Pocket. You’ll earn 3.00 annual percentage yield (APY)* on your One card round ups and an additional 1.00% annual percentage yield (APY)* on your Save Pocket balances, too.
3. Budget holidays and gift giving in advance
It’s easy to get wrapped up (literally and figuratively) in the spirit of the season or a loved one’s birthday. Setting up a budget for gifts and holiday spending ahead of time will help wrangle in overspending (and possible debt) later.
4. Refinance your mortgage
Lending rates are at a historic low. Securing .75 to 1 point lower on your mortgage rate can save thousands over the course of your home loan. To save money, continue to “pay” the same mortgage amount each month while putting the difference into your Save Pocket.
5. Reign in overspending
If you struggle with “want” versus “need,” set up free and unlimited Pockets to create an overview of your spending. A few foundational Pockets are groceries, transportation, internet, medical, and entertainment. Allocate your monthly spend to each Pocket. This system will keep spending on each category in check. Once the cash is gone from a Pocket, you’ve reached your spending limit.
6. Save money while still spending
It sounds counterintuitive that by spending money, you will save money. It’s not trickery; by using your One card, you’ll save money while paying for essential goods and services. Activate card Auto-Save to round up all purchases to the next dollar then automatically deposited into your Auto-Save Pocket. It’s a win, win!
7. Shop generic
Grocery branded items and generic medications can be up to 85% less than their famous counterpart. Talk to your doctor to see if swapping your current prescription is an option and try to shop the lower grocery shelves first before moving up to the more expensive eye-level product placements.
8. Start small
Remember the recommended 1 to 6 months emergency savings you need to be squirreled away? The grand sum needed can spook many from even taking the first step on their saving journey. Start with a smaller, more manageable pledge to save $10-30 weekly or monthly based on your income. This bite-sized goal is more attainable and can increase over time as spending goes down.
9. Be kind to yourself
Overspending and financial blips will happen. Don’t give up when you don’t meet a financial goal or give in to an impulse purchase. There’s no need to punish yourself for a small bump in the road. Learn from it and move on. No one is a perfect saver (or spender).
10. Reserve work bonuses and tax refunds
If you’re one of the lucky to receive a financial windfall, consider putting aside a percentage or the entire sum into your Save Pocket. It’s extra money you most likely weren’t planning on receiving, so it will make it that much easier to keep it out of your Spend Pocket.
11. Audit banking fees
Take a look at your 3 past bank statements. Were you charged a few overdraft fees? Maybe an interest fee? An account maintenance fee? A handful of ATM fees? These “small” fees add up and can be eating up your future savings. Most Americans lose $100 a year to unnecessary banking fees. Enroll in no fee banking to keep your money in your Pockets.
12. Use direct deposit
The easiest way to save money is to immediately siphon it off your paycheck before it hits your Spend Pocket. If your employer offers direct deposit, set aside a portion to go into your Auto-Save Pocket automatically. One offers 3.00% annual percentage yield (APY)* on up to 10% of your qualifying direct deposit paycheck when you activate Paycheck Auto-Save.
13. Buy household staples in bulk
If you’re already using your One card with card Auto-Save, you’re saving while spending. Take it to the next level by purchasing household staples, like paper towels, soap, and diapers in bulk. The majority of the time, buying a 6 pack of paper towels is cheaper than buying a single roll.
14. Start a zero dollar day
We would never advocate not to pay bills or forgo filling the tank; it’s about being aware of when or why discretionary spending happens. Choose one day a week to mark as a “zero dollar day.” On this day, you’ll pay extra attention to where or how much you spend. Swap the to-go latte for brewed coffee at home, or opt to pull from the freezer for dinner versus ordering pricey takeout.
15. Avoid stress spending
There’s now a popular day centered around treating yourself but hear us out…stress relief spending is hurting your long-term financial health. You’ll get a temporary hit of dopamine, but it’ll wear off long before your monthly statement appears.
16. Share streaming services
Take a quick assessment of your streaming services subscriptions. Chances are there’s some overlap with a close friend or family member of a different household. If they’re up for it, consider swapping login info and canceling a duplicate membership to cut down on everyone’s bill.
17. Negotiate cell phone bill
There’s the advertised price, and then there’s the rate you can actually get. Most cell phone companies don’t want to lose a long-term customer, so they might offer some wiggle room on your cell phone bill. Give the customer retention department a ring. It helps to come prepared with publicly advertised rates from competitors when negotiating for a lower monthly rate.
18. Negotiate internet bill
If you’re ready for round 2, contact your current internet provider to negotiate a better rate. Same as with your cell phone company, come prepared with competitor rates. You might not always be victorious, but it’s still worth the time to try to renegotiate.
19. Swap paid audiobooks for library
Have you been crushing audiobooks? Us, too. An easy way to save while not limiting your steady stream of the latest sci-fi series is forgoing paid audiobook subscriptions and swapping in a free library membership. Libraries aren’t just physical books anymore; there’s a wide range of best-sellers and the newest audiobooks available to download for free.
20. Ask about employee benefits
Shift meal, gym membership reimbursement, cell phone plan discount…you never know until you ask! Most likely, day one at work was pretty overwhelming with all the new things and new people. Set up a time to ask your manager or HR team for a refresher on employee benefits. They’re there for you to benefit from!
Financial stability won’t happen overnight. It’s practicing healthy financial habits daily that will pay off in the long term. Sign up to learn more ways One can help you build emergency savings, crush your goals and get life done.
*Annual Percentage Yield effective 9/1/2020, subject to change
This card is issued by Coastal Community Bank, Member FDIC, pursuant to license by Mastercard International. Your One account is FDIC-insured through our bank partner, Coastal Community Bank, Member FDIC.