Set A Goal, Make a Plan, Save Automatically

Savings Tips

Savings tips from the Washington Department of Financial Institutions and the Washington Asset Building Coalition.

Where to Start

Piggy Bank
  • Pay yourself first each month
    Make savings a priority by treating it as a bill that you have to pay each month. To make saving even easier, talk to your local bank or credit union to see if it’s possible to set up an automatic deposit each month.
  • Develop an emergency savings fund
    Emergencies happen. Be prepared. Set aside enough money to cover 3-6 months of living expenses. Your emergency fund should be stored in a liquid savings account. A liquid savings account is an account that you can easily access, without having to pay a penalty for withdrawing funds. A traditional savings account offered at your local bank or credit union is an example of a liquid account.
  • Develop a retirement/financial plan
    If you haven’t already done so, develop a retirement or financial plan. Set exciting goals such as retirement, education, or a once-in-a-life-time vacation. A roadmap is needed to achieve financial success. There are many individuals and organizations out there who can help you develop a plan. Consider speaking with a financial planner. To find a financial planner near you, visit www.cfp.net or www.fpanet.org.
  • Periodically review your financial plan and goals
    It’s important to periodically review your financial plan and goals and to make any necessary adjustments. If your strategy isn’t working consider making adjustments. However, be careful making any rash decisions based on current financial news.

Programs

  • See if you qualify for the Earned Income Tax Credit
    Low- and moderate-income workers qualify, each year, for an Earned Income Tax Credit that can put more than $1,000, and often more than $2,000, in your pocket. See if you qualify for the Earned Income Tax Credit by visiting www.irs.gov/eitc.
  • Have your taxes prepared for free
    If you earn less than $52,000 or are 60 and older, you may qualify to have your taxes prepared for free. For more information visit the IRS website www.irs.gov/individuals/article/0,,id=107626,00.html

Cutting Costs

Scissors
  • Reduce your energy bill
    Conserve energy and lower your bills. Tips from the Washington State Utilities and Transportation at www.wutc.wa.gov/consumer/energy.
  • Lower prescription drug costs
    Ask your doctor or pharmacist about buying a generic version of a brand name medicine. If there is no generic version of a medication you are taking, ask your pharmacist or doctor if you can safely switch to a different drug that has a generic equivalent. For more information and tips visit the Washington State Prescription Drug Program's website at www.rx.wa.gov/savingtips.html.
  • Reduce commuting costs
    Reduce stress and commuting costs by exploring alternative transportation options. Tips and travel options from the Washington State Department of Transportation at www.wsdot.wa.gov/Choices/.
  • Volunteer - Free, fun, and rewarding
    Nothing to do? Avoid impulse spending and volunteer to help out your community. For more information and volunteer opportunities, visit the Serve Washington website at www.ofm.wa.gov/servewa/

Help and Resources

Books
  • Don't drown in debt - talk to a counselor who can help
    If you’re over your head in debt, consider meeting with a certified credit counselor. Certified credit counselors can work with you to develop a plan to reduce your debt. To find a certified credit counselor near you, visit www.nfcc.org.
  • Take advantage of free financial education classes
    Organizations across Washington offer financial education classes. Find a free class near you by visiting DFI’s financial education calendar. www.dfi.wa.gov/financial-education/calendar.htm.
  • Take advantage of free resources and publications
    The State of Washington as well as many federal government agencies and local non profit organizations offer resources to help you budget, save, reduce costs, and invest. Take advantage of these free resources. See our free resources page for links to these great resources.
  • Remember: If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is
    There will always be scam artists out there who want to part you from your money. If a return on an investment sounds too good to be true, it probably is. To learn more about the latest scams and fraud alerts visit the Washington Department of Financial Institutions’ website at www.dfi.wa.gov.
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