Set a goal and start a savings habit

At the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, we believe in empowering American Consumers to make informed financial decisions. We want you to have the information you need to get what you want out of the financial products and services available to you.

Setting financial goals is important, and building savings towards those goals is one of the best ways to achieve them.

Building up a savings cushion – or a “rainy-day fund” – is also one of the best ways to make sure unforeseen expenses don’t throw you off course and prevent you from meeting your financial goals. To make sure you have the financial cushion you need to meet the demands of unexpected expenses, set a goal to save a small amount in a rainy day fund, and you’ll be in a better position to meet all of your other financial goals.

Setting a goal to save for your child’s college tuition could reduce your or your child’s reliance on student-loan debt.

Although it may seem light years away, setting a savings goal for retirement could allow you to maintain your standard of living when you stop working.

Studies show that by modeling good practices for building your savings now, your children are more likely to save for their own financial future.

Saving doesn’t have to be hard. Even loose change can accumulate quickly. Throwing 75 cents in a jar every day would add up to $100 in fewer than six months. That could be enough to cover a wide range of emergency needs or be the perfect way to save towards a family night out.

The important thing is to make savings a habit. That means getting started, saving regularly, and letting it grow.

February 19-25 is America Saves Week , a national campaign to encourage Americans to save money, reduce debt, and build wealth. This is a great opportunity to identify a savings goal, start a savings account, and commit to your new savings habit. The Consumer Bureau is pleased to be a participating organization in this year’s campaign.

An even better way to achieve your goals is to make your savings automatic by:

  • Paying yourself first. Determine how much you can set aside for savings every pay period and put the money in the bank before you pay your other bills.
  • Asking your employer to directly deposit a portion of your paycheck into a savings account.
  • Setting up automated transfers from your checking account to savings.
  • Contributing at least enough to your work retirement plan to get a savings match from your employer (if your employer offers this benefit). Otherwise, you are leaving free money on the table.

Whether your savings goals are large, like saving for a home, or small, like saving for a vacation, automatic savings and any extra money you receive through income tax refunds or other sources can help you achieve them.

Make a commitment today. Start a savings habit and encourage your family and friends to do the same. To learn more about America Saves Week, go to www.americasaves.org .

Join the conversation. Follow CFPB on Twitter and Facebook .