Comptroller Susana Mendoza Kicks off America Saves Week with Advice on How to Build Up Your Family’s Reserves.

Monday, April 8, 2024

The theme of this year’s America Saves Week (April 8-12) is “Saving for What Matters Most.”    

“That may mean something different to everyone, but can include saving for college, new furniture, a big vacation or your retirement,” says Comptroller Mendoza. “Regardless, starting a savings plan and sticking to it doesn’t have to be painful.”  

Here are some tips to get started:  

  • Have a portion of your paycheck automatically directed into your savings account. Think of it like a monthly bill that is due at the same time each month. That way, it won’t seem like an extra commitment. If you have already done this, consider raising the amount if possible.  

  • Find a high-yield savings account so that you’re earning interest on your hard-earned money.  

  • Consider setting up savings accounts for specific needs. Many banks offer Christmas and vacation “clubs,” or accounts where the amount of a purchase is rounded up and that change is saved. Make sure the account pays interest!  

  • Sock away some money in case of emergencies. Just like the Illinois Office of Comptroller is working to build up the state’s Rainy Day Fund, families need some cash on hand for things like unexpected home and auto repairs, losing a job or costly medical bills. It’s recommended that you have three to six months of expenses saved up, but if that’s too big of an undertaking, start with one month of savings.   

  • Think about easy ways to save money, such as bringing your lunch to work or school, cutting back on expensive coffees, using coupons, rebates, rewards programs, and cash-back offers, and cancelling unused subscriptions. Review insurance and cell phone plans and shop around for a better deal.  

  • Take advantage of current payments. Just paid your car off? Keep allocating for that expense and put that money into savings instead. You won’t miss it.  

  • Consider a short-term CD. You won’t make a ton of money, and some won’t let you access the cash until the term is up, but it’s a safe investment in interest earnings.  

  • Working teens should put a percentage of their paycheck into savings or consider a Roth IRA. While your kids aren’t likely thinking about retirement, a Roth IRA is a great way to teach them about investing and saving for their future. An account can be opened for kids who earn an income, whether that’s at a local fast food chain or from babysitting. It’s managed by an adult, and transferred to the child when they are typically 18 or 21 years old. Parents can also contribute to the account, matching the child’s investment up to a certain amount. What’s great about a Roth IRA is that contributions can be withdrawn at any time without penalty.   

  • And, if you don’t have any sort of bank account, check out our Bank On Illinois program, which connects people with safe, affordable bank and credit union accounts. You only need a minimum deposit of $25 to get started and there are no overdraft fees.  

“There are many ways to save money, so find out what works best for you,” says Comptroller Mendoza. “It’s so important to have some cash on hand for emergencies and to make saving a priority. I encourage families to include their kids in the effort and help make saving money a habit for a lifetime.”