There is no better time than today to starting saving money for your long term savings goals, large recurring living expenses and preparing financially for significant life events. Let’s talk about 11 critical things you should be saving money for in 2020.
What to save up money for today for a better financial future
Life is happening at 100mph. There is no way to predict the craziness that life can sometimes bring. Losing your job. Unexpected expenses in the way of medical bills, costly repairs, etc.
The best defense in the situations is a good offense. Create an emergency fund is a critical part of your personal finance plan.
When you fail to prepare for these unexpected situations, you are leaving yourself vulnerable to derailing your short term and longer term financial goals, possible incurring high cost debt, not to mention the stress of trying to manage a situation that you are ill prepared for.
If you want to know more about how to set up an emergency fund, how to figure out how much money you need to save, and where to keep it, check out this Ultimate Guide to Emergency Funds.
Major Recurring Expenses
Personal property taxes. Vehicle registration. Income tax. These are a few examples of major recurring expenses that you will see every year and subsequently need to create a savings plan.
Putting money aside consistently will be a much easier to meet financial obligation rather than scrambling around at the last second trying to find money to scrape together.
An ideal solution would be to sit down and list out all of these potential expenses and make a plan– whether its automatic saving withdrawals. separate savings accounts, or simply transferring money over every time you get paid.
Whatever plan you create needs to be one that is realistic and sustainable for it to be successful.
Saving for retirement may seem super obvious, but in order to take advantage of your greatest ally (time) — the earlier your start, the better.
It can be difficult, for young people especially) to see the urgency of opening a retirement account like a 401K or an IRA, when retirement still seems so far away.
One of my all time favorite illustrations is the side-by-side comparison of a person starting young and contributing $2,000 a year for 8 years and then comparing their balance with someone who started late, contributed far more, but still came out behind the early bird.
Paying Down Debt
Debt is a a four letter word. (Yes, I mean that both literally and figuratively). Debt (in the way of high interest rates) is costing you a lot of money that you could be putting towards financial goals.
Credit card debt and student loans seem to be the leading offenders. However you decide to balance your savings and paying down debt, becoming debt free should definitely be at the top of your financial plan.
Health Care Sinking Fund
Whether you have health insurance or no health insurance it’s always a good idea to have a safety net, particularly when it comes to your health.
Deductibles, trips to the emergency room, prescriptions, non-covered trips or procedures can add up to a tidy sum of money.
Housing in general is typically the largest portion of your budget and depending on where you live it can be closer to 30-40% of a family’s take home pay.
Saving up for a downpayment on your home. The roof needs to be repaired. The heater goes out. You need a new water heater because the current one is leaking.
This is a very large overarching category, but definitely a big one to consider.
Getting Ahead of the Paycheck to Paycheck Cycle
There was an article I ran across that stated 78% of US workers are living paycheck to paycheck.
That’s crazy town, ya’ll.
Breaking the paycheck to paycheck cycle isn’t just about the peace of mind, although that’s certainly a huge benefit, but it’s also about managing your money to your best benefit.
Imaging being able to create a budget where you are paying bills off of last months income. Are due dates super critical?
Are you shifting money around or having to say no to things you need or want because you need that $50 this week to cover an expense that can’t be put off?
What you want to consider here is that you don’t even necessarily need to save a whole month’s paycheck. You just need to save enough money to cover a month’s expenses.
Repairs, registration, new tires, maintenance and replacement costs are some pretty typical expenses associated with owning a vehicle.
Consider creating a sinking fund to start saving up for these expenses.
If you are relying on your own transportation to get you to and from work, I would prioritize saving for this expense as it has the potential to affect your income.
Bucket List Items
While being fiscally responsible is an important step in adulting. You should also include planning for bucket list items. Taking a cruise, seeing the Northern LIghts, seeing a Broadway show.
It’s all too easy to get bogged down in your responsibilities, but it’s just as important to put a little life into your living.
Having children comes with a large cash intensive season.
From childcare (which can cost as much as attending a private university in some states), braces, tuition, potentially an additional car, additional insurance for each family member that drives, starting a college fund, activities and potentially a wedding.
There are so many financial considerations when you start a family. Get started as soon as possible to spread out this very high cost season.
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One of my absolute favorite savings tips is raising your deductible to lower your monthly payment.
However, if you decide to raise your deductible you need to ensure that its an amount that you are prepared and able to pay.
So if you are planning to raise your deductible by a good amount of money, start preparing now.
Significant Life Events
There are many seasons in life and a good portion of them come with a hefty price tag.
Moving out for the first time. Job transitions. Getting Married. Having a Baby.
A good way to approach these transitional phases is to consider if these are transitions from one level of income to another, or its simply a large one time expense.
A large one time expense would be just a matter of saving up a set amount of money. Transitioning income levels would mean an adjustment to your budget.
For example, when you are transitioning from one job to another.
It might take a few months for you to leave your old job, start your new job, getting all your paperwork processed and then getting your new paycheck started.
Also, will this transition involve a move? Will there be a change in transportation requirements? Will you be spending more travel time.
Having a baby. Are you going to need to take time off of work? How long will you be out of work? What is your new household budget going to look like?
Adulting is hard, ya’ll!
Let’s avoid the stress fest and get proactive.
Do you have other things we should be saving for? If so, drop them in the comments below.
Things to Save up money for in 2020
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