Money Minutes | General Electric Credit Union Blog | Financial Resources

Break the Cycle: How to Save When There Isn’t Room in the Budget

Sep 10, 2021 | 5 minute read

woman searching for best savings accounts

66.1% of millennials in the Midwest report living paycheck to paycheck.1 If you fall into this group, you know that saving can sometimes feel like an unattainable luxury. How are you supposed to save what you don’t have? From smart budgeting to the best savings accounts, there are many resources available to help. If starting to save is a priority for you, the tips below can put you on the right track.

How to Break Free and Start Saving

Budget, Budget, Budget

First, review your transaction history to spot opportunities. Could you eat out less? Or, is there a subscription you forgot to cancel? Learn where your money is going so you know what’s reasonable for you to change.

Tip: General Electric Credit Union (GECU) members get access to Money Management, a budgeting tool that offers a holistic and highly visual way to see where your money goes, monitor goals, and more!

Money Management | Financial Partner Cincinnati OH

If the concept of a monthly budget is intimidating, consider starting out by just budgeting your paycheck. If you’re paid bi-weekly, brainstorm any items that need to be paid over the next two weeks (e.g. a utility bill or rent). Then, think ahead to the upcoming weeks and months. Is there a large bill or expense coming up? Set aside money for it now so you don’t fall behind.

Consider saving any remaining funds or start out small by saving a percent of what’s leftover, then increasing the percentage over time. Eventually you may feel comfortable graduating to a monthly budget.

Set Goals

It’s difficult to know where you stand if you don’t know where you’re going. Setting goals will give you a benchmark to work toward. That way, you can better gauge if you’re on track or if you got lost along the way.

Whether you’re saving to pay off a medical bill or student loans, goals can also keep you motivated. Instead of blindly saving, decide on a specific dollar amount and watch your balance grow. Seeing yourself get closer and closer to a goal will instill you with a sense of pride.

Identify Big Expenses

Getting to a place where you can start saving may take some big changes, such as identifying and addressing expenses that are sucking your budget dry.

1 in 4 renters in 2018 spent more than half of their income on housing, much higher than the 30% threshold commonly sited as the rule of thumb.2 If you can relate, consider a smaller space or an option in a less popular side of town. Be sure to factor in things like moving costs to determine if it would be cost-effective to relocate.

If you own a house, consider refinancing. Doing so may allow you to lock in a better rate and a more affordable monthly payment. Learn more about this option here.

Get Saving with GECU

Finding the best savings account is really a matter of reviewing the options and determining which one is right for you. Here at GECU, we have a simple savings account that offers security and the convenience of Online Banking and our mobile app.3

Want to boost your savings potential? Our Thrive Money Market account is a tiered-rate option that lets you earn interest on your balance. The best part? You can open the account with as little as $100 and continue to build on your savings over time

You can put your savings on auto pilot by opening a GECU checking account and enrolling in Round-Up.4 This program rounds up your debit card purchases to the nearest dollar and deposits the extra change into your savings account. We also match 5% of your rounded-up funds a month, helping you earn up to $350 a year!5 Little by little, you’ll see the difference add up! Let us help you open the door to new savings possibilities.




Related topics: 




1Lending Club Reality Check: The Paycheck-to-Paycheck Report

2Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University America’s Rental Housing 2020

3We provide Online Banking and our mobile app to you for free; however, message and data rates may apply. Contact your service provider for details.

4Thrive Money Market Account: Membership eligibility required. There is no minimum balance requirement to open this account. To earn dividends, you must maintain a minimum balance of $100. Dividend rates are based on the account balance and account tier. The tiers are as follows: Tier 1 daily balance up to $99.99, Tier 2: $100.00-$4,999.99; Tier 3: $5,000.00-$24,999.99; Tier 4: $25,000.00 or more. We use the daily balance method to calculate the dividend on your account. Funding must be received within 30 calendar days of account opening. Dividends begin to accrue no later than the business day we receive the deposit to your account. Rates earned are based on balances, calculated daily, and compounded to the account monthly. Separate checks and ATM cards are issued to access this account. Fees may reduce earnings. Full details can be found by reviewing the Account Disclosure.

5Round-Up is only available for Simply Free, Choice, and Amplified High-Yield Checking accounts. Funds will be added to member’s chosen GECU savings or money market account; excluding Certificates, IRAs, or IRA Money Market accounts. Match will be paid on eligible funds at the end of the month with an annual match limit up to $350; reportable on IRS Form 1099.


Online Banking Login

Open An Account