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Have you ever seen your savings account balance dwindle to nothing and feel like you could not build it up yet again? Or did that last emergency drain your savings to an all time low? If you like the security of having money in savings, but have gotten sidetracked, there are two small steps you can take that will help your personal savings grow again without causing discomfort or budget distress.

Establish the savings habit
Start a pattern of setting aside money on a consistent basis. Establish a regular payroll deduction, set up an automatic payment to savings from your online checking account, or simply put all coins you collect in a jar and then regularly deposit the change into your savings account. If saving is a mental game for you, make a big deal out of each deposit. Sometimes you need the visual push that writing out the deposit slip and placing the cash on the counter provides. There is not a right or wrong method, starting the habit is the key.

Plan to increase slowly
Sometimes in our zeal to start saving, we overestimate how much we can save in a month. Plan to start small and work your way up. To ramp up over time, try the following strategies:

  • When you receive a pay raise, put a portion into savings rather than increasing spending or expanding your lifestyle.
  • Deposit windfall money (such as, bonuses, gifts, or inheritances) directly into savings.
  • Analyze your miscellaneous spending and cut unnecessary expenses so you can add that money to savings.
  • Delay purchasing a new car when you pay off your old one. Instead save for a few months and build your savings.

Don’t let a short-term setback impact your long-term plans. Recognize that sometimes savings will be wiped out by unavoidable circumstances such as needed car repairs, unexpected expenses, or large purchases. When this happens don’t get discouraged, just reboot the system and start the habit again. The road to success is usually paved with a few potholes, but every bit of know-how you gain can be applied to building a bigger and better account.