Tips for saving during America Saves Week

How to save more of your paycheck

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – "How can I save more of my money?"

It's a questions that many are asking themselves. Less than half of respondents in a 2016 America Saves Week survey said they save at least five percent of their income.

Monday was the start of American Saves Week 2017.  Gerri Sexsion, president and CEO of Jax Federal Credit Union, offered four ways to help increase savings this year.

First, open a savings account. If you’re treating your checking account like a savings account, that may be part of the problem. Opening a separate account for savings will make it easier for you to separate the money you need to save from the money you want to spend.

Next, make saving an automatic part of your banking. Opting to have a paycheck deposited directly to a savings account, setting up automatic transfers, or enrolling in a specific savings program can make the process easier for savers.

"What you want to get in the habit of is paying yourself first," Sexsion said. "You would be surprised how it adds up."

Then, set a goal and make a plan. According to a survey by GoBankingRates.com, 69 percent of Americans have less than $1,000 in savings. Savings certificate programs can help establish an emergency savings fund, and it's important to identify how much must be contributed every month over a 3-year or 5-year period to meet the goal. 

Finally, break free from the debt/savings spiral. Last year’s America Saves Survey showed that fewer than 40 percent of respondents had no consumer debt. That means most are paying down debt while trying to set up a savings plan. Make a plan to address debt while also setting aside money for savings. Without a plan, individuals are more likely to go through the spend/save cycle, where borrowers use a credit card or loan to cover an unexpected cost rather than having money set aside to cover it.

Sexsion said not having a savings account associated with a debit card can help savers be more disciplined.

"If you can make it more difficult to get to that savings, it will add up over time," she said.