April is National Financial Capability Month and an important time to take control of your finances, including easy steps to develop a savings habit.
To start saving when there’s little to begin with can be overwhelming. We have some tips to help.
SMART Savings Goals
It’s important to set savings goals, and we recommend making sure they’re SMART:
Even setting aside $5 a week can start to add up and create your emergency savings account for future use. Take advantage of automatic deposits from your paychecks and split out a small amount for saving, perhaps at a different financial institution from your main account.
Think Ahead with a Financial Plan
Recovering from a disaster is multifaceted, requiring various physical, emotional, and mental tasks to recover. It’s equally important to view these tasks through a personal financial lens.
During a natural disaster, it can be overwhelming to try and remember a multitude of accounts, passwords, balances, and other key information. Having a financial plan prior to when disaster hits is critical to helping ensure you have the resources available and can recover even more quickly.
Quick Financial Planning Tips
Pay yourself first. Pay down high-interest debt to free up more money to save. And having a budget so that you know what you can realistically save is also a great step toward financial stability.
Do an audit of your monthly subscriptions to see if you can free up more funds from accounts you’re not using. Every little bit that you can set aside will help down the road.
Know What You Have
Getting an accurate picture of your personal finances is important prior to a disaster and during the recovery process because it will show you what is missing or what needs to be updated.
Do a financial check up. Checking your credit, insurance history, checking account history, and other items can be part of your annual financial check-up so you can be better informed. Learn more about credit check facts (PDF).
Document what you have. Keep a password-protected spreadsheet of financial accounts, bills that are on autopay, phone numbers and contact information, and other details saved in cloud storage to be more easily accessible following a recovery. This is helpful in the event replacement cards need to be issued, knowing what funds you have available or even how much credit availability you have on a credit card.
Protect what you have. Recovery can sometimes result in incurring financial costs depending on the situation. Before borrowing money (credit), knowing where your score stands can help influence how expensive accessing that credit will be. Scams and scam artists tend to follow the events the day of, and unfortunately, that includes natural disasters. Protect yourself and your money from scams, including contractor scams, counterfeit check scams and charity scams, in the midst of recovery by learning the red flags. Learn how to spot a scam (PDF).
Learn more about how to make “cents” out of weather alerts in the April 2022 Ready PA Newsletter.