Sweet Savings

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Saving money is hard, especially when ads, in real life and online, tempt us constantly. This week is America Saves Week, so we asked Laura Bunn, the Triangle Market President for First Horizon Bank, for some tips to save money and keep on a budget that we can apply in our daily lives. First Horizon also offers free financial empowerment workshops through its Operation Hope program at the bank’s North Ridge location in Raleigh.

Why is it so important to save money?

The unexpected is…unexpected. Retirement will be here quicker than you realize, but preparing for retirement can take a backseat when you’re focused on the here and now. Very few of us have a plan for retirement that is adequate to how we’re living now. Save today for tomorrow!

What are some easy ways to save money every day?

  • Set Goals! Start by thinking of what you may want to save for. Are you getting married? Planning a vacation? Going back to school? Savers who have a plan are twice as likely to save successfully. 
  • Pay yourself first! Moving money from your checking to your savings account automatically is the easiest and most effective way to save. Whether saving for educational expenses, a dream vacation, retirement or all things in between, this is one of the best ways to reach a goal.
  • Reduce your debt! This is something you don’t hear as often: paying down your debt is saving! When you actively reduce your debt, you save on interest. When you pay on time, you save on late fees and maintain your credit score, which will save you money long-term.

What is the best way to create a budget and ensure you can stick to it?

Use the 50-20-30 budget rule to save. 50 percent goes to your needs: your mortgage or rent, car payments, groceries, utilities. 20 percent goes to savings which includes adding money to an emergency fund, making IRA contributions and investing in the stock market. Three-plus months of emergency savings is important, but six months of emergency savings is encouraged! 30 percent goes to your wants—the non-essentials.

You just got a big tax refund. What’s the smartest course of action to take with the money?

Pay off debt and save it! 

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