Goal-based savings is one of the simplest ways to control your spending and maintain some financial security as you transition from college to career. Imagine swiping your card for those $200 designer shoes you’ve been stalking online and knowing you have the money to pay it off immediately. (Talk about guilt-free spending.) That’s what goal-based saving is all about: Determining your goal, opening a savings account specifically for that goal, and saving up the money before you buy.
To get you started, here are 3 goal-based savings accounts you should have right now.
Unfortunately, emergency student loans don’t exist after college, but there is a better and smarter path to financial security. It starts with having some money saved up for those unpredictable moments. Losing a job, repairing your home, and replacing the flat on your car are all instances that don’t necessarily warrant a goal, but having the ability to pay for these emergencies without stress or worry is definitely a goal worth achieving.
To figure out how much you need in this account, set the goal equal to your necessary monthly expenditures–that’s rent, food, utilities, gas, and bills–multiplied by 6 months. For example, it may cost you a total of $1,800 to maintain your current lifestyle every month, so multiply that by 6 and you get $10,800. It’s a large number right off the bat, but that’s why we set it as a goal. Once you reach your goal, maintain that amount in your emergency savings account by only using it for emergencies and relish in the fact that you never have to worry about paying for those unexpected situations ever again.
Giving and Gifts Fund:
Life after college can require a great deal of gift giving and wedding attending. (That’s just the natural progression as you age through your 20’s and 30s’.) You’ll want to give gifts and money for holidays, weddings and to charitable organizations.
Alas, weddings add up after the gifts, attire and travel is all said and done; holiday spending has us crossing our fingers for that end-of-year bonus; and charitable giving, whether for time or money, is something you’ll want to save for as you find more and more causes to contribute to. Giving is one of the best feelings when you begin to make an income, so save ahead of time by putting $50 each month into your Giving and Gifts Fund.
Goal-based savings is one of the smartest decisions you can make for your financial future, and now that you’ve set up some security against emergencies and saved to make everyone else’s dreams come true, it’s time to make your dreams come true with your Fun Fund. A Fun Fund is an account where you stash away a set amount of money, maybe it’s $10 per week or $100 per month or more–whatever amount you choose–and throughout the year you splurge on the things you most want to indulge in (#treatyoself).
Whether you love to travel, buy home decor, eat out at the best restaurants, or attend big concerts and sporting events, being financially fit isn’t purely about deprivation and minimal spending, it’s about taking responsibility of your money and saving proactively so you can enjoy these indulgences and have a worry-free financial life.
Setting up multiple savings accounts might sound crazy, but it’s super easy. With Ally Bank, you can open up as many savings accounts as you’d like without a monthly fee, and you can access your money at no penalty. But the best part is how simple and seamless the process is to get your financial life organized.
Warning: Goals-based saving is addicting. In no time, you’ll have 7 savings accounts, like me.
Tess Wicks is the voice behind the brand, Words and Money, a blog and podcast for millennial-aged women who are looking for inspiration and encouragement to get their money matters in check. As a financial literacy educator and advocate, Tess wants every woman to know it’s easy to become rich, happy, and free, it just takes a little feminine confidence, self-trust, and the wherewithal to pay yourself first.