Saving for a home down payment or future education expenses could take years, and doing so often seems unattainable. However, with smart spending habits and proper planning, most can achieve ambitious savings goals. From little changes in your daily spending to long-term financial planning, incorporating these tips will make those big purchases seem well within reach.

Designate Funds

Setting money aside specifically for large purchases is the first step, so if you already have a savings account, you’re ahead of the game. Plan to automatically put a certain amount of money into a savings account every month. As you make changes to your spending habits and see your savings grow, your goals will finally seem possible.

Most institutions allow for multiple accounts, so consider opening one for each specific purchase you intend on making in the future. This will help you prioritize your goals and aides in forming timelines. You can contribute more towards a home down payment you’re targeting in five to ten years while depositing a little less into long-term college savings for the kids.

Start Small

While it might sound cliché, saving any amount you can is better than saving nothing at all. Start with a low dollar amount that you know you can afford – even if it’s just $10 to begin, you’re on your way to reaching your financial goals.

If you use direct deposit, consider having a percentage of your check go straight into savings. Keeping money you want to save out of your checking account makes the process much easier, just be sure you can afford whatever funds you elect to save. With money being set aside directly, you’ll see your balance multiply without any special effort.

Investing Or Saving  

Savings accounts currently yield very little in interest, but you’re never at risk of losing a dime, so they remain the safest option. If you’re most comfortable with savings accounts, shop around for options with higher returns. Some checking accounts offer higher interest with stated requirements.

While investing money intended to make large purchases isn’t always recommended, there are numerous ways to put your money to work safely. Bank-issued Share Certificates, come with very little or no risk at all to the investor. You will incur penalties if you cash out early, so be sure to read the fine print of any agreements and make sure you can afford to be without that money for the term of the investment.

Larger returns will naturally come with a higher risk. This is typically the better option for those with discretionary income who can afford to take a few risks while also saving via more traditional methods.

FINANCES FYI is presented by Evergreen Credit Union, serving all Southern Maine and committed to helping Mainers of all ages better manage their financial lives. | (207) 221-5000

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