Decide how much you need to save

Make room in your budget for short-term and longer-term savings to help you reach your financial goals. It doesn’t matter how much you save at first. The important thing is to get started.

Know what you’re saving for

Many people start by building an emergency fund to cover unexpected bills and expenses (like a furnace that breaks down in January). Without these savings, you may have to borrow money to pay these unexpected expenses. And then you’ll need to repay that debtDebt Money that you have borrowed. You must repay the loan, with interest, by a set date.+ read full definition.

You can also put some money away each month to help you reach your short- and long-termTerm The period of time that a contract covers. Also, the period of time that an investment pays a set rate of interest.+ read full definition financial goals. Some common short-term goals include vacations, new cars and weddings. Long-term goals could include a first home, a comfortable retirement or putting kids through school.

Set a monthly savings goal

Set a percentage of your pay or a dollar amount to save each month. For example, many experts suggest saving at least 10% of your pay. If your income changes each month, adjust your savings up or down. If you get a raise or a bonus at work, increase your savings. If you’re carrying a lot of debt, you might want to save a smaller amount until you’re debt-free.

If you’re saving for a specific goal, figure out how much you need to set aside each month. For example, if you’re saving $1,000 for a vacation in 6 months, you’ll need to start saving $167 a month.

Balance saving, spending and paying off debt

Key point

It doesn’t matter how much you save at first. The important thing is to get started.

Take action

Use this calculator to see how even small amounts of money saved add up over time.

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