Given that 40% of U.S. adults don't have enough savings to cover a mere $400 emergency, the need to ramp up savings efforts is clear across the board. And with a new year about to kick off, many folks are resolving to do better in the savings department once 2019 rolls around. But, perhaps unexpectedly, the age groups most intent on upping their savings are none other than millennials and members of Gen Z. More than half of adults in those age groups will prioritize savings as part of their New Year's resolutions, according to a new survey from CIT Bank, whereas only about one-third of Gen Xers and baby boomers say the same.
Of course, it's not a bad idea for Americans of all ages to increase their cash reserves -- particularly those who are nowhere close to having a fully loaded emergency fund. If you're eager to boost your savings in 2019, here are a few tips to get started.
1. Set up automatic transfers
It's hard to spend money you never see. If you really want to meet your savings goals in 2019, get into the habit of paying yourself first. You can do so by setting up an automatic transfer with your bank so that a portion of each paycheck you collect automatically lands in savings. This way, you won't be tempted to spend it, and you probably won't even come to miss it.
2. Cut one larger expense from your budget
When you're trying to save money, cutting back on any expense in your budget is better than not curbing your spending at all. But if you really want to boost your savings, don't just skip out on a couple of store-bought coffees a week, or brown-bag your lunch twice a month instead of buying it. Instead, identify one larger expense that you're willing to live without, and eliminate it. That could mean canceling your $130-a-month cable package, bailing on the personal trainer who charges you $80 an hour, or putting the kibosh on the weekly takeout order that costs you $45, on average. Doing all of these things will have a greater impact than scrounging up $3 here or $8 there, so set some priorities and make one change that'll really make a difference.
3. Get a side job
Maybe your paycheck isn't that generous, or the expenses you're willing to cut don't do a good enough job of helping you ramp up your savings. If that's the case, it's time to consider a side hustle. The beauty of having a second gig is that your earnings from it won't already be earmarked for existing bills. As such, you should have no problem saving every penny you earn (minus the money that needs to go to the IRS for tax purposes). Even if cutting expenses does do the trick in helping you boost your savings, it never hurts to go the extra mile by getting a second job. And who knows? You might really enjoy spending your spare time dog-sitting, designing websites, or doing whatever it is you choose to do for additional money.
The more money you're able to save, the more protection you'll have when a financial emergency strikes. At the same time, you shouldn't stop saving once your emergency fund is complete. Quite the contrary -- once you have three to six months' worth of living expenses in the bank, your next goal should be to start funding your retirement accounts. In fact, there will pretty much always be a good reason in life to save money, so if doing so isn't on your list of priorities for 2019, it may be time to change your line of thinking.