Do you know exactly where all of your money goes each month? Do you know how much money you have left to spend this month? Are you saving towards an emergency fund each month? If you answered -NO - to any of these it may be time to get your finances in order.
The first step to saving more efficiently is to keep track of what you spend and budget. There are many different ways to do this, try a few out and choose the system that works best for you. The key to saving more successfully is to find a system that works for you and to stick with it.
Step One: Keep Track of What you Spend
We pay for the items we need in many different ways - we spend cash, credit, debit, and we even auto-pay bills. It’s important to have a system in place to capture all this spending.
Luckily, there are digital tools to help you keep track of your spending. Look for free tools that will group all your spending in one place. Take a look at a couple months of spending. Total up everything you spent and divide your spending into large categories –housing, food, utilities, entertainment, shopping, savings, and everything else. Click here for a sample budget worksheet.
Step Two: Create Your Budget
Now you know where your money is actually going. But is it going where it should? Create a budget that you can stick to. Look at places you can cut back in order to pay down high-interest debt and save. Not sure where your money should be going? Check out our Budget Worksheet.
Step Three: Stick to your Budget
Putting together a budget is easy: the harder part is sticking to it. The key to this is to go back to step one and keep track of your spending. Each week, check your finances to make sure you are staying within your budget. You can do this by using a cash, or envelope system, for example having one envelope for the money you save. one for the money you spend, and a third for money you donate. You can also keep track with a software program, online financial management tool, or mobile app – or you can simply use pen and paper to keep track of your spending.
No matter how you do it, it’s important to find a system that works for you and stick to it.
America Saves for Young Workers (ASYW) is an initiative of America Saves that promotes workplace savings for young adults. We are beginning our work in this area with a large and vulnerable population, young first-time summer workers from low-income households. These young people are inexperienced about personal finance and are less likely to save any of their earnings. Employment for this group of 16- to 24-year-olds reached nearly 20 million in July 2013, as reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
America Saves is pleased to make America Saves for Young Workers their commitment to action as part of the Clinton Global Initiative. CGI America commitments are new, specific, and measurable plans to address economic recovery and growth in the U.S. America Saves’ commitment to action seeks to encourage first time workers to save by introducing them to direct deposit and automatic saving during their employee orientation. Learn more at https://www.clintonfoundation.org/clinton-global-initiative/commitments/america-saves-first-time-workers-program.
America Saves for Students Working Group
America Saves for Youth Savings
America Saves provides a free research-based program for financial institutions that can support and motivate youth to save effectively. The program focuses on 16-22 year olds and starts with youth taking the America Saves Pledge. Research shows that those with a financial plan are more likely to spend less than they earn and save the difference than those without a plan. The Pledge does just this. Youth choose a goal, and amount to save, and a time frame to save for – creating the most basic of savings plans. Once they have completed the Pledge, they will receive an automated electronic program that provides ongoing support, resources, and motivation to save regularly through email and/or text messages from America Saves. Click here for the program.
Campaign for a Secure Retirement
Social Security along with America Saves, the American Savings Education Council, the Women’s Institute for a Secure Retirement, and the US Department of Treasury, launched the “Campaign for a Secure Retirement: Helping Millions of Americans Plan and Save for Retirement.” The campaign is a joint national educational retirement campaign to encourage retirement planning and saving and promote the online Social Security Statement, available through my Social Security, as an important retirement planning tool. Read the press release.
America Saves launched a new text message service, as part of Financial Literacy month, to keep savers motivated to save through text message tips and reminders. America Saves uses the goal savers choose when they take the America Saves pledge to help them find money to save and remind them to save for their specific goal.
Your organization can help individuals to save by providing them with the opportunity to sign up as a Saver on your own website using the America Saves pledge form or on our website. When someone pledges to save, they make a basic saving plan, and research shows that people with a plan save more successfully. America Saves will be able to track how many individuals pledge to save on your website and report that information back to you.
Direct people to AmericaSaves.org/pledge or contact America Saves to get a pledge form for your website.
- Your organization name
- The website you would like to install the form on
- Any local America Saves campaign you are working with
NOTE: The pledge form should live on a page dedicated to the form.
The data we can share with you: Number of people who pledged, zip code, referral source, savings goal, and amount pledged (total and median). You can use this data to describe the savers who pledged through your form, (for example, how many dollars your website visitors pledged to save during America Saves Week).
What we do with the data: We do not share personal information with anyone. If those pledging to save opt-in, we will send them emails and texts. We also use aggregate saver goals and amounts pledged to show the impact of the campaign. (America Saves does not track savings accounts.)
America Saves has over 60 local, regional and statewide campaigns. We also have campaigns dedicated to different audience segments. Click on a link below to learn more.
- America Saves has over 60 local, regional and statewide campaigns. To find the campaign closest to you click here. For information about forming a campaign in your area click here.
- A partner in the Department of Defense’s Financial Readiness Campaign, is a research-based social marketing campaign to motivate, support, and encourage military families to save money and build wealth.
- Young America Saves helps young people ages 16-29 develop a saving habit by pledging to save between $5 and $25 dollars per month or more toward a specific goal.
- America Saves provides the following pages in Spanish.
America Saves wants to support your efforts to encourage financial action and savings behavior change throughout the year. Sign up to receive by email:
- Quarterly partner resource packets to help you communicate with the public, constituents, and aligned organizations
- Latest research and news from the campaign
- Occasional updates and opportunities
Unable to see the form below? Sign up here.