How to Create a Savings Plan that Works

January 18, 2023 by Chevron Federal Credit Union

If you haven’t saved as much as you’d like, you’re not alone. In a 2022 survey, just 44% of respondents said they had enough money saved to cover a $1,000 unexpected expense. While another survey found 58% of adults polled worry about their emergency funds.

With inflation driving up everyday costs, it can feel harder than ever to set money aside — but it doesn’t have to be.

By creating a manageable plan, you can make it easier to reach your savings goals this year.

Set a savings goal

Your first step should be creating a savings goal. If you don’t have an emergency fund — or haven’t built up much savings — this is a good place to start. Many experts recommend saving three to six months’ worth of expenses in an emergency fund. If this goal feels too overwhelming, you can also break it down into manageable chunks by starting with a month of savings and building over time.

While you can set any savings amount as a goal, keep in mind that all achievable goals share the same factors:

●     Specific – describe your goal to the smallest details

●     Measurable – how much do you need to save?

●     Actionable – break it down into reasonable action steps

●     Realistic – could you really achieve this goal in the given time?

●     Time-bound – what is the time frame for the goal?

Keeping your goals realistic can help you stay motivated.

Develop a savings plan

Once you have a target goal in mind, create a plan to build your savings consistently to reach it.

Many people find it easier to build savings over time by regularly contributing to their savings fund. Say, for instance, you may decide to save 10 to 20% of every paycheck on payday. By paying yourself first, you’ll be able to set that money aside before you can spend it or miss it.

This is where it is also a good idea to have a timeline in place. The Savings Goal calculator from our partners at Balance can help you determine how long it will take you to reach your goal based on how much you can save each month.

To give your savings a boost, also consider putting any windfalls you receive aside. For example, if you earn a bonus at work, transferring those unexpected funds to your savings can give you both a money boost and a motivation boost.

Automate your progress

One of the easiest ways to ensure you reach your savings goals is to automate the “actionable” portion of your plan.

With Chevron Federal Credit Union, you can arrange to have your savings automatically transferred from a deposit account to a savings account. Once you determine what percentage of your income you can save with each paycheck, set up an automatic transfer to move those funds to your savings vehicle on payday. This has a couple of benefits. By automating your savings, you’ll also save yourself time and effort.

Boost your savings with higher rates

Make sure your savings work hard for you by storing those funds where you can earn interest. Over time, as you build toward your savings goals, the interest you earn will compound, essentially making you more money.

You have several savings vehicles to choose from:

●       Savings accounts: Your savings account with Chevron Federal Credit Union not only earns you interest but makes it easy to transfer or withdraw funds as you need them. Savings accounts are often ideal for emergency funds.

●       Share certificates: For extra savings, share certificates typically earn a higher interest rate. However, you will need to “time lock” your funds, meaning you won’t be able to make penalty-free withdrawals during this time.

●       Money market accounts: If you only need to make a few withdrawals each month, a money market account may offer a higher dividend rate, making it ideal for any type of savings you don’t need frequent access to.

Optimize your spending

Looking for ways to save even more? Consider reviewing your budget and monitoring your spending for a month or two.

You’ll likely find expenses you either forgot you had or weren’t using enough to justify keeping. By cutting those expenses, you can redirect those costs into your savings account each month, getting you closer to your goal.

Just remember: You don’t need to eliminate everything fun from your life to reach your savings goals. Just making a few tweaks here and there can be all you need to stay on track.

Your friends at Chevron Federal Credit Union are here to support you in your savings journey. If you’re looking for tips on how to better manage your finances and save more, consider attending the free webinar, Basics of Personal Finance. You can also connect with a counselor to receive a free consultation on your unique financial situation. 


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