Make Saving a Lifelong Habit
by Samantha Kennedy
According to the Federal Reserve, most Americans do not have enough money saved to even cover a $400 emergency. Many factors contribute to this lack of savings, such as low income, high debt, and unexpected expenses, which can be difficult to control. However, even people without these challenges often do not save like they should.
Why? They were never taught the importance of saving. They were never taught how to save and therefore do not make it a priority.
It is never too late to make a savings plan. Start small and stick with it until it becomes a habit.
Make saving a part of the monthly household budget. As income changes, change the amount saved. Save more whenever possible, less when things are tight.
Benefits of Making Saving a Habit
Some of the benefits of saving include having extra money for emergencies, gifts, or vacations, as well as financial security and decreased stress about money. Having money saved increases peace of mind for everyone, regardless of income level.
One of the best ways to instill saving as a habit is to teach children how to save their money. Just like adults, children usually use money in three basic ways.
They spend it, they share it, or they save it. It may seem like a waste of time to teach kids to save a few cents at a time, but creating the habit early will help them when they get older.
The classic piggy bank is a terrific tool for teaching children how to save. The simple act of putting a few coins aside and dropping them through the bank’s slot teaches children that saving money now will mean having more money later.
It also gets them thinking about how to spend their money smarter so they can afford to save more now.
Have a Plan
Having a plan is important at any age. Saving with a goal in mind, such as paying off a debt, buying a new TV, going to Hawaii, is often a better motivator than saving for that proverbial rainy day. Then when that emergency strikes, the money is there to cover it, even if it means having to save longer for the original goal to make up the difference.
Adolescents and teens are encouraged to open their own savings account at a financial institution. Not only does the act of putting money away in a bank strengthen the savings habit, it also benefits them by increasing their overall savings through interest.
Older teens may also want to explore the possibility of investing some of their savings to learn how their money can work for them.
Cash Cultivators Camp for Local Youth
The UF/IFAS Wakulla County Extension Service is offering a summer day camp that will teach children the importance of money, including how to create a spending and savings plan. The 3-day “Cash Cultivators” camp will be held June 25-27 from 9:00am to 3:00pm each day at the Extension office in Crawfordville. It is open to kids ages 10-16 and is $60 per camper until June 4. After that, the price goes up. There are limited spots available, so sign up soon.
For more information about creating a savings plan or to register a child for the “Cash Cultivators” camp, please contact Samantha Kennedy, Family and Consumer Sciences Agent, at (850) 926-3931.