How do you start to build savings?
If you're not in the habit of saving, start small and make it a habit. Then, increase the amount you're saving incrementally, experts say. Briboneria tells her clients to "pull off the Band-Aid and start somewhere." First, set a goal for how much you want to accumulate. Then, set a time frame for when you want it completed.
"The easiest way for families with tight budgets to save is to ask their bank or credit union to transfer a fixed amount every month or pay period to a savings account," Brobeck says. "Almost all will do so, but you should also request that as long as the deposits are made regularly, any monthly fees are waived. Some banks and credit unions advertise the fact that if automatic deposits of as little as $25 are made monthly, fees will be waived even if minimum balance requirements are not being met."
After a few months of saving, gradually increase that amount until you're saving about 10 percent of your income. And make sure those savings are in a dedicated account. "Don't just keep savings in your spending account with a mental note that they're 'saved,'" says Gallegos.
To help you keep your savings in the savings account, open that account at an institution other than the one you normally use. "Keep it out of sight and out of mind," Gavlak says.