Saving money is hard. If you think you’re alone in feeling a financial squeeze and the struggle to start saving or save more, you’re not alone. Campaigns like America Saves work to motivate and support people in saving money, reducing debt and building wealth

A recent study from Capital One and The Decision Lab found that 77% of participants felt anxious about their financial situation. Whether it’s managing debt or saving for retirement, making these financial decisions isn’t easy for anyone. 

Saving outside the budget 

Growing my retirement savings and establishing an outside-the-budget fund are my financial priorities these days. To be honest, I don’t like to call it an ‘emergency’ fund. It’s money I want to be able to use for anything that falls outside of regular recurring bills like auto insurance and my mortgage payment - not just emergencies. 

To grow my savings, the first thing I did was meet with a financial advisor. He helped me consolidate all of my retirement accounts from past employers, and I set up monthly automatic withdrawals. I also opened a money market account that earns a slightly higher interest rate compared to my regular savings account held at my bank.  

After setting up my savings accounts, I took a long hard look at my household budget. I found that I was paying almost $20 a month for a few Amazon TV channels I didn’t realize I was paying for. I signed up for the free-week trial and never looked back. Then I shopped for new car insurance to find a lower rate, and I’ve started using my credit card responsibly to take advantage of points. (I intend on using some of my outside-the-box savings funds for travel.)

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22 times your savings will save you

While most of these situations can’t be prevented, some of them are just necessary to save you from career burnout or mental exhaustion. 

  1. Washer/dryer died 

  2. Lost dental insurance

  3. Necessary car repair

  4. Traffic violation ticket 

  5. Out-of-state travel to a family funeral 

  6. Owed taxes

  7. Home improvement project

  8. Car insurance premium increased 

  9. Broke your prescription glasses 

  10. Tire replacement 

  11. Cracked your smartphone

  12. Broken kitchen appliance 

  13. Sick fur baby 

  14. Lost job 

  15. AC broke 

  16. Taking up a new hobby

  17. Lost wedding ring 

  18. Self-care day 

  19. Fried computer hard-drive

  20. Car or home broken into  

  21. Medication costs

  22. Much-needed vacation

These are situations you probably aren’t thinking about when saving money. And it’s likely you’ve already experienced a few (or four, or five) of these situations below. But they all can happen, and if they do, you’ll be happy to have a savings stash you can count on.   

Expect the unexpected - good and bad

Each time I’ve dipped into my savings stash it’s only made me more motivated to keep saving. Like the time I had to replace the fuel injector wires in my Toyota 4Runner. But also like the time last year when I scooped up a new road bike. 

Saving money isn’t a destination but rather a journey. Enjoy the ride!