Because it's your money, using your savings account as an emergency fund means no finance fees, no interest to pay and no delay in getting access to it. And since you won't be touching it, unless you really need it, that money can be earning interest for you, getting larger all the time.
But now we're back to the reason you're saving in the first place: to build a store of money. Not to move it around, blow your savings on the next big purchase or even just to cut expenses. The purpose of saving money is saving it: Creating a savings strategy that will help you put your money to work for you.
Paying down debt is the next most important part of your financial plan. Your consumer debts continue to grow with interest, so there's no benefit to keeping them around. While it's nice to have more money to play with in the short term, you're really just adding to the eventual bill, and that's money going right out the door. Being debt-free isn't as exciting as watching those dollars pile up in your savings account, but it feels much better -- mainly because it means you're not giving away your money to finance charges and interest.
Living well means living within your means and not buying anything you can't afford. Saving means spending less than you make, and it's the only way anyone ever builds wealth. That means looking at money in terms of your hopes and dreams, not shame or the scary rat race of trying to keep up. The system is designed to keep you afraid. It's our job to work outside the box and look for ways we can keep the money we earn for ourselves and for our families.
That begins with making sure that you're saving enough to stay safe in case of an emergency, so start stashing away savings right away. For more information on money and saving, click to the next page.
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- Roth, JD. "The Spending Habits of the Average American." Get Rich Slowly. July 14, 2009. (Oct. 20, 2010)http://www.getrichslowly.org/blog/2009/07/14/the-spending-habits-of-the-average-american
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. "Consumer Expenditures in 2008: Report 1023." U.S. Department of Labor. March, 2010. (Oct. 20, 2010)http://www.bls.gov/cex/csxann08.pdf
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Office of Publications & Special Studies. "Focus on Prices and Spending, Consumer Expenditures, Volume 1, Number 4." U.S. Department of Labor. 2010. (Oct. 20, 2010)http://www.bls.gov/opub/focus/volume1_number4/cex_1_4.htm
- Wang, Jim. "2009 Federal Income Tax Brackets (Official IRS Tax Rates)." Bargaineering. Sept. 16, 2009. (Oct. 20, 2010)http://www.bargaineering.com/articles/2009-federal-income-tax-brackets-projected.html