There is a balance between just enough and too much when it comes to money in your savings account. Even though saving as much as you can while still fulfilling your bills and enjoying life is a respectable goal, a savings account doesn’t often yield the highest return. If you’re wondering if you’re putting enough or too much into your savings account, here is a quick guide to help you better manage your money.
Review your financial responsibilities and goals
To know how much you need to save, you first need to know how much you spend. That’s right, you need to review your spending habits, bills, and financial goals to either create a new budget or revamp your current one.
“What you need to keep in the bank is the money for your regular bills, your discretionary spending, and the portion of your savings that constitutes your emergency fund,” advises Tim Parker, writer for Investopedia.com.
He also suggests having a maximum of $300 in cash in your wallet with approximately $1,000 in a home safe. These funds can help with your day-to-day expenses.
Calculate your target amount
Once you have created or updated your budget to reflect your current expenses and financial hopes, you need to calculate actual numbers. Your target number will accurately reflect your budget and personal financial situation. You can find calculators online, like our Savings Goal Calculator, to help you with this task. Or if you’d prefer, you can always seek assistance from one of our professional financial planners.
In general, you need to figure out how much three to six months of expenses in your life is and the cost of your most important bills, according to Margarette Burnette, writer for NerdWallet.com.
“Consider only essential expenses, such as rent or mortgage payments, insurance premiums, loan and other debt payments, and spending on groceries and transportation,” she suggests. “Say your core monthly expenses total about $3,000. You’ll want to have at least three times that amount, or $9,000, in savings. For more peace of mind, you could aim for an $18,000 balance, which is six times your monthly expenses.”
Invest overage into other accounts
Now that you have a realistic budget, have calculated your actual target numbers, and hit that amount in your savings account, it’s time to decide what to do with any excess. If you have money to “burn” that’s beyond your target calculations, you’ll want to move that sum to accounts or saving vessels that yield higher interest rates or returns than your traditional savings account.
“Keeping too much of your spare cash in an account that generates little interest means you’re missing out on the opportunity to grow your money,” warns TJ Porter, writer for Bankrate.com.
If right now you’re struggling to hit your target savings amount, let alone having any extra to move, don’t fret. You can grow your savings account by reducing unnecessary expenses, taking on a side gig, or changing up how you pay your bills, according to Burnette.
“Use recurring, automatic transfers to easily stash what you’ve saved. You can usually schedule these — set them to occur each payday, for example — through your bank’s website or mobile app. That way, you’ll build your savings without much effort,” she advises.
With a close look at your current financial situation and budget, you can determine the correct amount you need to put into your savings account so you can have enough for today, tomorrow, and in an emergency.