Personal Finance 

Finances in 55 Seconds: Create a Short-Term Savings Plan

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StopwatchWe are often intimidated by financial projects. It seems like we should need hours to plan savings, or organize our finances. However, you might be surprised at what you can accomplish if you set aside some time to tackle one task. Too often we make things harder than they need to be. Creating a short-term savings plan is one of those projects that can quickly seem daunting.

Short-term savings, though, are important. It’s a good idea to have some small savings in a relatively liquid account. Short-term emergency savings can be used for items like unexpected car repairs, appliance repairs and other unexpected expenses that crop up. It’s not exactly the same thing as planning for months of unemployment, but it is way to give you a little extra padding that is accessible — and doesn’t require you to raid your long-term savings. This fund is usually between $1,000 and $3,000.

The best part: You can create your short-term savings plan in 55 seconds or less.

  1. Take a look at your monthly spending: Personal finance software or a web application can help you do this in a snap. Skim the list and see what you have been spending money on, and where you can make changes to put money into your short-term savings. (Time taken: 18 seconds)
  2. Decide how much you can put into short-term savings: Now that you have an idea of your monthly spending, and where you can cut back, decide how much you can set aside. If you can set aside $150 a month, you will have a little more than $1,000 in seven months. (Time taken: 12 seconds)
  3. Figure out where you want to put the money: Do a little research to figure out where you want to keep your money. There are plenty of web sites that help you compare different savings and money market accounts. Do some checking around. Money market accounts are great for short-term savings, since you have some (limited) check abilities that can help you access your money in a pinch, and the rates are better than what you would get with most traditional savings accounts. (Time taken: 25 seconds)

You just created a plan to build up short-term savings in 50 seconds! Of course, it will take a little more time to open an account, but if you do it online, and have your checking account number and bank’s routing number, you can actually get things rolling within 10 minutes. So, if you have 10 minutes and 50 seconds you can actually get beyond the planning stages of your short-term savings and get things started.

Most accounts will let you automate your savings when you sign up, so, as part of that 10 minutes, you can arrange matters so that money is taking from your checking and put into your short-term savings automatically each month. It’s a great way to build up a tidy little emergency fund that’s easily accessible. And, once you reach your goal, you can stop the automatic deposits. (Of course, once you use some of the money, you will need to create a plan to replace what you took out.)

(Photo: wwarby)

{ 6 comments, please add your thoughts now! }

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6 Responses to “Finances in 55 Seconds: Create a Short-Term Savings Plan”

  1. zapeta says:

    If you don’t track your spending, step 1 will take much longer! It also might take a lot longer than 18 seconds to decide where you can free up money in the budget. Still, the time shouldn’t hold you back!

  2. Shirley says:

    Being senior citizens, we have seen the need for easily and quickly accessible savings.

    We each have $2,000 in our local credit union savings accounts with the other as co-owner (that can be important) just for immediate emergencies. While it’s true that it is just sitting there, making almost no interest, the peace of mind is worth it to us.

  3. tbork84 says:

    This is exactly how I was able to start my emergency fund almost two years ago. A quick choice to set it to automatic savings and opening an online bank account. It served me well to spend those hours and hours thinking about it, and then the minute or so to actually set it up.

    • skylog says:

      a lot of times, that last minute is the one that eludes many people. that last minute might be the most important, no matter what you are doing you need to start.

  4. Strebkr says:

    My short term savings is what lets me sleep peacefully at night. Its worth setting up.

  5. Emergency funds are necessary to break the debt cycle and dependency on credit cards. $1000 is OK but $3000 is more ideal especially if you own cars and a home.

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