University of Florida

Saving Money

Saving lets you put money aside for future use, a good help for budgeting your expenses and a way to achieve financial stability.

Financial Success

It is easy to neglect putting money into savings, especially if you have a lower income compared to your cost of living. However, saving lets you and your family move to a more stable financial position than living paycheck to paycheck.

More than that, your savings will grow over time thanks to interest. Money invested at 5% interest will double in amount in just over 14 years. [Divide 72 by the interest rate to determine the approximate amount of time it will take your money to double. Example: 72 ÷ 5 (percent interest) = 14.4 (years)]

Most people save money with specific goals in mind. These can be short term (such as a new car, refrigerator, vacation, or computer) or long term (college tuition for a child, a mortgage free home, or retirement).

The restrictions and sacrifices needed to save money can be challenging in the short term, but have great long-term rewards. Make sure to discuss goals, responsibilities, needs, habits, and interests with your family and partners—all of these will affect how much of your income can go into savings.

Building Savings

Saving money can appear to be a daunting task. One way to begin is to choose a fixed percentage of your take home pay to put into savings each paycheck. Saving 5–10% of take home pay is a good starting point. Try using automatic deductions and sending them straight to your savings account.

You may already be building up financial security by paying into Social Security or other retirement fund.


Unlike investing, saving money in a bank, credit union, or savings and loan is for the purpose of safety and easy access to your money. Investing is riskier and is more concerned with using your money to earn more money.

Most people think of “investing” as referring to security investments: stocks, bonds, mutual funds, notes, or mortgages.

A family should not invest in securities (except government saving bonds) until they have established an emergency savings fund. Additionally, you may also want to have health, auto, and homeowner’s insurance before putting saved money into riskier investments.

Emergency Funds

Sometimes emergencies place large demands on a family’s income: sudden illness, storm damage to a home, or unemployment, for example. To prepare for unexpected expenses, try to save up an emergency fund equal to at least 3 months' worth of take-home pay.

Emergency funds should be in accounts that can be quickly turned into cash without loss. The amount you put into your emergency fund will depend on your cost of living, spending habits, family’s size, job security, amount of debt, and specific financial needs.

You can build up an emergency fund of 6 months’ pay in 5 years by saving 10% of your paycheck every payday. The important part of saving is regularity; small amounts, saved regularly, can add up to a significant amount over a period of years.

Once you have met your emergency fund goal, the money you normally contribute to it can be used for other purposes. Remember to replace any money you use from your emergency fund.

Stability and Benefit

Saving money lets you and your family have financial stability and freedom. Having a financial buffer protects you from debt and financially draining emergencies and lets you have the freedom to make purchases when needs and opportunities appear.

For more information on financial management and how to make financial goals, contact your local Extension agent.

Adapted and excerpted from:

M. Gutter, Money and Marriage: Saving for Future Use (FCS7014), Department of Family, Youth and Community Sciences (rev. 4/2011).

Money in a jar

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