In honor of National Savings Day on October 12th, FEMA is highlighting its partnerships with America Saves and Military Saves. Both are campaigns managed by the nonprofit Consumer Federation of America, which helps low to moderate-income households learn how to save, budget and reduce debt, all key elements of financial resilience. America Saves’ resources include information on how to set financial goals and make plans, as well as tips on automating savings and getting out of debt. Military Saves’ similar resources are tailored for service members and their families.
America Saves and Military Saves will hold a series of three virtual town halls called #ThinkLikeASaver this fall. These two-hour Facebook events with financial experts will be held from 2 to 4 p.m. Eastern Time on the following Thursdays:
- Oct. 22nd: Simple Strategies to Help You Save
- Nov. 5th: How Do I Pay Off Debt?
- Nov. 19th: Saving for Major Life Milestones
The first step in building savings is to create a budget. Doing this maps out costs and bills you have each month, such as rent, utilities, food, and car payments. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has tools that can help track income and spending, as well as a budget worksheet that can be filled out in a PDF or printed out.
Part of the money not going to necessities can be used to build an emergency savings account, which can cover unexpected bills, such as home repairs or health care costs. Having money deducted from your paycheck—even as little as $25 a month—that is automatically put into a savings account can add up over time. Another way to boost savings is to add all or part of your income tax refund to the account.
As you create new savings accounts, it’s a good idea to update your financial records. FEMA offers a handy way to collect all your records in one place with its Emergency Financial First Aid Kit (EFFAK). Find links to this tool in PDF form as well as financial resilience and savings tips at https://www.ready.gov/financial-preparedness.
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This article first appeared in the monthly Individual and Community Preparedness Newsletter. Subscribe here.