Why doesn't your savings account grow? It could be a simple matter of how you allocate your regular paycheck.
What happens every time you receive your paycheck? If your employer offers direct deposit, your money probably is funneled automatically into your checking account. If you get paid with old-fashioned paper checks, you probably drive to the bank after work and deposit your check into your checking account.
So there's the problem; your dollars never even reach your savings account, and your savings never grows. This could be a problem. What if you lost your job tomorrow? What if you suffered a serious injury and needed a hefty chunk of cash to pay medical bills? Without built-up savings, you might have to go into debt.
Most people begin withdrawing dollars from their checking accounts as soon as they deposit them. They need this money for groceries, rent, mortgage payments, car loan payments and entertainment.
Then, if money is left over, they transfer that to savings.
Unfortunately, too often there never is any left-over money. If there is, they forget to move it to their savings account and instead leave it in checking, where they eventually spend it.
That is why automating your savings might be the key to making sure that you save enough dollars for a rainy day fund.
If your employer offers direct deposit, sign up for it. Then, instead of having your entire paycheck deposited into your checking account, have your employer send a fixed amount of your paycheck into your savings account each pay period.
First, though, determine how much of every paycheck you can afford to devote to savings. Check your household budget -- or draft one if you do not already follow a budget -- and calculate your monthly expenses. Then determine how much of your check you need each paycheck to cover them. If your weekly paycheck is $750 and your weekly expenses are $675, that means you can afford to have $75 from each paycheck deposited directly into savings.
Don't be discouraged if after setting aside dollars for your expenses you only have a small amount of money left over for your savings. Every little bit helps, even if it is just $25 from each paycheck.
If you do not have direct deposit at work, you can set up automatic money transfers at your bank from your checking account to your savings account. You might, for instance, authorize your bank to send $100 automatically from your checking account to your savings account on the second and fourth Fridays of the month.
It is easier to save money when you do not actively have to think about moving that money to your savings account. If you automatically deposit $75 from every paycheck to your savings account, saving will become a habit. Then your savings account will steadily grow.