At first glance, saving money seems pretty generic. It’s not as complex as other financial processes like buying a house, working the stock market, or filing income taxes.
But when you dig into it a little more, you realize that how a person saves money says as much about them as any other expression of their personality.
Just as each person has a unique way of completing mundane tasks, such as buttering bread, everyone handles their money a little differently.
I’m not talking about whether you’re a good or poor example of financial responsibility; there are general practices that will define which of those you fall under. I’m talking about your unique preferences for money management: what form of money you prefer, how frequently and how much you save, and what you save for.
How do YOU save your money?
The Money Jar
There will always be people who have an emergency stash of cash under their mattress, or in a piggy bank or money jar. Perhaps the jar has a picture of your savings goal taped to it, or a quotation that reminds you of future rewards. The security of this money, and the ability to compound it, are questionable, but it’s still a legitimate way to save. You might gravitate to this physical and literal view of your money.
Perhaps it’s seeing the actual growth of the money as it piles up, or the association with some childhood memory, but keeping a savings jar is a practice that many find both comfortable and effective.
Even if this isn’t your main form of savings, it wouldn’t hurt to start a money jar for a small goal. In the jumble of savings and checking accounts, it can be easy to forget to set aside money for a specific goal or purpose. Having a daily reminder keeps it fresh, and the visual pressure to fill the jar can stir up motivation.
The Savings Account
Just about everyone I know has a savings account of some kind. The greatest thing about savings accounts is the power of “out of sight, out of mind.” What you can’t see, touch, or access with the swipe of a card, you can’t spend. It’s a great idea to schedule regular transfers every week or month, which will grow your savings account automatically.
Many financial experts recommend not only having a savings account that’s linked to your checking (from which you can easily transfer funds over for spending), but also a separate savings account. This account should be harder to access on a whim; withdrawing funds shouldn’t be instantaneous, so you’ll have more time to think about your decision.
The Bond or CD
Bonds and CDs (certificates of deposit) are a more serious form of savings, because there’s a set time span you have to leave the money alone — usually at least five years. These types of savings are better for long-term goals, because they accumulate more interest than a regular savings account.
These are just three unique ways people choose to save money. Each has their advantages and disadvantages, and each one works better with certain lifestyles, income levels, and savings goals. Whichever you choose, find a way to save that matches your personality and it will be a habit that sticks as close to you as, well, bread does to butter.
How do YOU save? Has it worked for you?