Get Your Green On

12 Months to a Better Financial Foundation—Step 3: Start Saving

If you aren’t already in the habit of saving, it can be hard to know where to start. If you are expecting a tax refund of any amount, that can be great seed-money. Otherwise, small and steady steps over time will help you achieve your goals.

  • Retirement: If your employer offers a 401(k) with a match of any percent, sign up for the minimum amount to get the maximum employer match—it’s free money! Since the money you deposit into a 401(k) is tax-deductible, you can deposit a certain amount without noticing a drop in your take-home pay. If you don’t have access to a 401(k), start a Savings, Certificate, Roth IRA, or IRA account.
  • Emergency savings: If you don’t have any savings, start with an emergency savings account. No amount of money is too small: If you make regular deposits as small as $10–20 per week, by the end of the first year, you’ll have $500–1,000, and that’s a great start! Standard wisdom is to keep 3 to 6 months’ of income on hand —a lofty goal to work toward over 3 to 5 years or more. Emergency savings can be kept in a Savings, Money Market, or Certificate account.
  • Education: A Coverdell Education Savings Account (ESA) is a great way to save for qualified education expenses for your child, grandchild, or other minor. Contributions to a Coverdell ESA are not tax-deductible, but amounts deposited in the account grow tax-free until used for allowed education expenses.
  • Special purpose accounts: Anytime you have a large, predictable expense coming up, it’s best to save in advance. Annual holiday or vacation expenses, a wedding, or other special event can each warrant their own account. Depending on how long in advance you are planning, the money can be deposited into a Savings, Club Savings, or Certificate account.

If you have some discretionary money and you can’t decide between paying down your high-interest revolving debt (like credit cards) or starting a savings account, do both! Establish what your combined budget is going to be and start out by putting 10% of the budget into the savings account and 90% to debt reduction. As your debt total goes down, you can start to shift that monthly difference into your savings account.

If you have questions about what type of savings account is right for you or how to better balance your budget and achieve your financial goals, contact PSCCU to schedule an appointment with an member service representative.

As a federally insured credit union, your deposits at PSCCU are federally to at least $250,000.