A Rainy Day Savings Fund is such an important part of your personal finances. You just never know when something unexpected will come up. Medical expenses, auto repairs, home repairs, job loss-you just never know what may happen. A good Rainy Day Savings Fund should include enough money to live for three to six months. It might take a couple of years to get to that point, but it is a very important goal to set.
A good savings program is multi-layered. Once you have achieved that goal of three to six months of Rainy Day Savings, then you can add other things to your savings goals. A vacation, a car, a house, furniture, and all those other things you need in your life. The next layer is your retirement planning (and college tuition planning for you or your children). These various layers do not need to be done one after the other. If you are really good at budget planning, you could take on more than one goal at a time. Save a little for a Rainy Day while you put a little into retirement (never to be touched). Then, perhaps, splurge on that new sofa you need, while planning for the down payment on a car.
One of the keys to building a Rainy Day Savings Fund is keeping track of your spending with a detailed personal financial budget. It is very important to track all of your spending and looking for areas where you are over spending. We all go to Starbucks too much. We might be able to cut down on Taco Bell and McDonalds visits and see fewer first run movies.
What is a personal financial budget? It can be as simple as a legal pad where you write down your expenses. It can be as complex as Quicken or Excel. Whatever method you use to track expenses it must be very detailed and accurate, and you must be diligent and persistent.
How do you set aside enough? You might consider an arrangement with your bank to automatically transfer a set amount out of your checking account into a savings account, CD, or “money market” account. That said, may people still use the mattress method or the freezer method. Are there two earners in your household? Maybe you can accomplish your saving goals even quicker.
However you accomplish that savings, the important thing is to do it regularly and consistently, and to be brave enough not to dip into it.
Can you sacrifice short term pleasures for long term financial security? It takes discipline and persistence. If you do, you will find your financial goals getting easier to reach.
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