How to Save Money

How Much Money Should I Save Each Paycheck?

Quick answer

Aim to save 20% of each paycheck based on the 50-30-20 rule (50% needs, 30% wants, 20% savings). This can be simplified to 80-20, where you save 20% regardless of how you spend the rest. Adjust according to your financial situation and goals.

Understanding how to allocate your income effectively is crucial for financial stability. The 50-30-20 budgeting rule provides a framework for this, suggesting you divide your paycheck into needs, wants, and savings/investments.

The Importance of Savings
Recent years have highlighted the critical need savings, with latest stats revealing that 45% of Americans have less than $1,000 saved. Savings are essential not just for emergencies but also for opportunities like paying off high-interest debt and trying new professional ventures.

Determining Savings Amount
The conventional advice is to save 20% of every paycheck, as per the 50-30-20 rule. However, this can be simplified to an 80-20 rule, where you save 20% regardless of how you spend the rest.

High Average Costs and Savings Flexibility
Given the high average monthly expenses, like the median $2,016 rent in the U.S. (as of 2024), it’s understandable that 80% of your income might go towards essential costs. Finding the balance between saving and spending for your goals is crucial.

Investment Recommendations
Aim to accumulate three to six months' worth of living expenses in an emergency fund. For storing your savings, consider a high-yield savings account above 4% annual percentage yield (APY).

Adapting to Financial Constraints
If saving 20% is not feasible, try to save whatever you can, even if it’s a small amount. Developing the habit of saving will pay off when your cashflow improves.

Apps for Savings Enhancement
Use apps like Cheddar to keep an eye on your spending, and watch your savings change month to month. If it's out of sight, it's out of mind.

Guidelines for Saving Amounts
Acknowledge the purpose of your savings. Short-term, high-priority goals might require higher saving rates, while long-term goals like retirement may allow for smaller percentages.

Bottom Line
Start saving any amount you can, as the habit of saving is more important than the amount. Tailor the percentage to your financial situation, whether it's the standard 20% or a more manageable figure for your circumstances.