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I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.
I’m going to let you in on a little financial secret that I wish I had learned about sooner. The key to financial happiness is setting realistic goals and sticking with it. It’s that simple.
Now I don’t profess to be a financial genius… far from it. But in the last two years, my husband and I have made a commitment to save up for the things we need so that we’re not faced with paying for big purchases all at once. We have been successful in reducing our financial stress by simply planning ahead. We utilize the 360 Savings from Capital One to create custom savings plans for things we know we’ll need and want, such as snow tires, Christmas expenses, and vacations. It’s much easier to save a small amount each pay period and we’re building wealth in our general savings as well.
Setting up an account is super easy, and the best part is 360 Savings from Capital One offers no fees, no minimums and provides great interest rates so we can get to our savings goals faster.
First I would recommend you begin with an emergency fund for things that pop up that you can’t plan for – the refrigerator needs repair, you get a flat tire, etc. From personal experience, I recommend a minimum of $500-1,000. You don’t use it for anything unless it’s an emergency. It’s like when I graduated from high school, and my grandmother gave me a $20 bill and informed me “This is your desperate money; don’t use it unless you’re desperate”. This is the same concept; only now that I’m adult, with a house and a family, emergencies tend to be more than what my $20 desperate money will cover!
Next, look at what big expenses you have throughout the year that you might have trouble planning ahead to pay for. You can use the ‘My Savings Goals’ tool to help track your progress and stay motivated along the way.
Each year we’ve created savings plans for our new snow tires, a necessity in the harsh northeast winters. We estimated that the cost for new tires would be $1,500 for both our cars (my tires are SO expensive!) We did the math and figured out that we needed to save $62.50 per pay period through the year to meet that goal. We set up automatic transfers from our primary checking account right into a special account we call “snow tires”. When it was time to purchase the tires, we didn’t have to worry about where the funds were going to come from, we just transferred the money into our primary checking account and paid for them in cash.
When you plan ahead for your larger expenses and follow through with your savings plans it’s liberating and stress-free!
360 Savings from Capital One works great for small savings goals work, too. We even save up for our children’s birthday gifts and parties. Because our son & daughter were born six weeks apart, their birthday parties were zapping our wallets the first couple of years. We started planning ahead and I don’t miss the $15 per pay period we set aside, but I sure love knowing that when I go to plan their parties and buy birthday presents, there’s $360 sitting in the account waiting for me! It’s really so simple!
I hope my success inspires you to start off 2016 in good financial health; remember with just a little planning you’ll be able to have financial peace of mind in the new year.