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Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources

Getting on the savings track and staying on course

When it comes to saving a dollar or two, there are is shortage of ways to nickel and dime your way to a respectable wad of cash – save loose change, brown bag lunch, eat out less often, quit smoking.

But, if the goal is to get serious about saving, what is the best way to accomplish that objective and where is the best place to stash the cash?

Since people tend to spend everything they make, one tried and true strategy to ensure they save the money they would otherwise spend is to put the money in some kind of savings account, said Cindy Clampet, Oklahoma State University Cooperative assistant state specialist, family resource management.

“If you’re missing that connecting step, you’re probably not saving anything,” she said. “The good news is that if you have overlooked that all-important step, there are lots of ways to get on the right track.”

Start with a savings goal in mind. It can be anything. For example, maybe a family wants to save for a vacation or create an emergency fund or establish a retirement fund.

Once a savings goal is identified, figure out where to put the funds being saved. In many cases, the easiest option is to open a savings account and that process is especially simple if a checking account already has been established.

Though interest rates for traditional savings and money market accounts generally remain low, there are higher-interest-paying accounts available.

Ask at the bank or credit union about any savings or checking accounts that paying higher rates of interest compared to traditional accounts.

“Higher-interest-paying accounts may come with specific requirements such as direct depositing funds and restricting the number of times you can use your ATM card. Carefully review all the terms and conditions to make sure it will fit with your lifestyle,” Clampet said. “The goal is to take full advantage of the higher interest rate without getting charged fees that may eat up the extra interest you’re earning.”

For those who do not have a checking or savings account, prepaid debit cards could be a good option for holding savings. Simply use the saved cash each week or month to purchase the cards. Or continue to add to the same card each month or week.

Newly established savers also should track their progress using a method that works best for their needs such as a ledger, bar graph or app on your phone or computer.

“Monitoring how you’re doing is so important because it tells you whether your strategy is working or whether you need to make adjustments,” Clampet said.

For more information on personal money management strategies, contact the nearest county Extension office.




Leilana McKindra
Communications Specialist
Agricultural Communications Services
158 Agriculture North
Oklahoma State University
Stillwater, OK 74078
Phone: 405-744-6792
Fax: 405-744-5739
Email: leilana.mckindra@okstate.edu

Oklahoma State University - Stillwater, OK 74078