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No doubt you've heard others say how important it is to have a rainy day fund.
No matter how well prepared you are, unexpected expenses can come up.
Save for Emergencies and More
Just this month not only did we have to start looking for another car, we also discovered that we had to replace a tire.
While we weren't planning on having to buy a car right now, we don't feel pressured into rushing with the process.
One big reason is that we have a savings plan. It was designed by both of us so should something come up, like buying a car, we can give our attention to finding a good deal rather than going for an immediate deal just to get something done.
While we started savings as soon as we were married, it took some time for us to find a way for both of to feel comfortable with the amount to put in. For myself, I like having enough money to pay an emergency.
I believe having money for specific goals like vacations and the next car is important, but otherwise I like to keep my accounts lean.
My husband, on the other hand, like to have a decent buffer stashed away. So while both of us want to have some financial cushion, we've disagreed on what the right amount is.
What helped us get a ballpark figure that we could both live with was answering some questions about our intentions and goals for the savings.
What We're Saving For?
Like many other couples, we have several goals that we’re looking at achieving together.
Some of our goals are for the short term while others are more long term and bigger in scope.
- Emergency Fund – If both of us are employed, then we’re comfortable with at least 3 months saved. If one of us is steadily employed then we prefer 6 months or more in the bank. This money is not touched unless there is an emergency.
- General Savings– This catch-all savings is basically for when we have some extra income that we haven’t allocated yet or for future planned purchases.
- Car Savings– Our goal is to avoiding getting car loans and buying cars outright. That means that we have some money tucked away to help us find a solid used car fits our needs and preferences.
We keep our general savings and emergency fund in the same account. What separates the designation for the emergency fund is that as soon as it's depleted we allocate money until it is refiled to its previous levels.
Coming Up with a Savings Plan Together
Now that we had an idea of what we were saving for , the next step was coming up with a system that allowed us to reach our goals.
When we first started out with tackling these goals, we had several sub-accounts with our savings. One big reason was it helped us to see our progress on individual goals.
Using an online bank made things easy, but I noticed now that even your local bank or credit union can handle having those sub accounts.
We found that breaking down each dollar saved into a specific goal instead of general fund reframed savings from a chore into something we enjoyed.
I also know that having several accounts may not work for you. Maybe you and your spouse prefers to
My suggestion then is to go ahead and create sub-accounts on a family spreadsheet (you can use Google Sheets and/or Tiller to set things up quickly.)
We actually made the shift to spreadsheet tracking once our daughters came along
It was simply easier to just go ahead and consolidate our financial accounts as much as we could.
We now have the main savings account which is sub-divided on a spreadsheet for short and long term goals like:
- Emergency Fund
- Car Fund
- Home Projects
And if you're looking for ways you can save more, I have a free course – 5 Days to $5K that breaks down how you can find, save, and make extra money for your big goals.
However you two handle your savings is up to you, but make sure it's something consistent and you're both happy with.
Thoughts on Saving as a Couple
So there you have it – how we save. I'd love to get your take on your savings plans.
How have you two worked out your financial differences when it comes to savings? Who's the more financially conservative one?
This episode was originally released in June 2013. It’s been updated January 2019.
This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my full disclosure for more info.