51% of Americans Are Looking to Improve Their Savings. Here's How

by Maurie Backman | Updated July 23, 2021 - First published on June 24, 2021

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Here's how to give your cash reserves a nice boost.

It's been a tough year for a lot of us financially. Millions of Americans became unemployed in the course of the pandemic, while others' incomes took a hit. It's not surprising, then, to learn that 51% of U.S. consumers want to improve their savings, according to a recent Chase survey. If you'd like to grow your savings account balance, here are a few ways to make that happen.

1. Automate your saving

Many of us have a hard time saving money because we give in to temptation to spend. And hey, that's human nature. So if you want to boost your savings, make the process automatic. Arrange for a portion -- even a small one -- of every paycheck to land in your savings account each month before you get a chance to touch it. That simple move can help get you closer to your goals.

2. Set up a budget

Following a budget can help you avoid spending money you don't truly need to. That can, in turn, free up more cash for savings. Comb through your bank and credit card statements to see what your ongoing expenses look like, then list them on a spreadsheet. You can also use a budgeting app to track your spending and expenses. Or go old-school and jot everything down on paper. It really doesn't matter what budgeting tool you use, as long as you note what you spend money on and stick to the limits you set for each spending category.

3. Choose one expense to cut back on

If you already live an extremely frugal lifestyle, you may not have much wiggle room to trim your spending. But if you're able to spend on discretionary items, then your ticket to saving more could be identifying one that you're willing to reduce. Maybe that one expense is travel -- you could opt for a budget vacation this year instead of booking a resort stay. Or maybe you can take the $200 a month you'd normally spend at restaurants, spend $50 of it on groceries for those meals, and bank the remaining $150. There are usually options to play around with, and having a budget makes it easier to figure out which costs to cut.

4. Boost your income with a side gig

Despite reports of a shaky economy, there's actually a fairly substantial labor shortage in some industries. That's something you can take advantage of by picking up a side gig. See if a local business or restaurant needs help during evenings or weekends. Or find a gig you can do more flexibly so it works better for you, whether it's driving for a rideshare company, editing web content, or doing freelance IT work.

The pandemic has taught us the hard way that having a healthy savings account balance is crucial. If you think your savings could use some work, these tips could help you improve them -- and put yourself in a much more secure place.

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