Savings account booklet croppedIn 1970, the only way to add money to a savings account was to walk in a bank, hand the teller a check or cash, and watch as she stamped the amount in your Savings Account record. (Pictured here are some of the INB savings books from the 60s and 70s.) Today, the whole concept seems antiquated when you can now make deposits right from home and see the dollars immediately reflected in your account by going online or to your smartphone.

The adage, “Out with the old, in with the new,” seems apropos, but there was something to be said for “touching” and “feeling” your savings add up. And there was some accountability when you knew each week that the teller expected to see you on Saturday morning to cash your paycheck and make your deposit.

Today, savings can be automatic and effortless. We don’t have a Saturday errand list that includes stopping by the bank. Yet MoneyWatch reported late last year that most American have less than $1,000 in savings. So, why don’t people save?

  • I have too many expenses! – A common lament from non-savers is they have too much to spend money on. The first step toward savings is to budget savings. And in order to budget savings, you need a budget! 
  • I’ll start saving later. – That’s a good plan until you’re hit with a big expense that you can’t cover. What will you do when the water heater breaks down and a week later you need new tires on the car? If you haven’t saved, you’ll have to turn to credit to pay emergency expenses.
  • I have a credit card for emergencies. – Using credit to pay is always a bad idea! With added interest, you pay more, putting more stress on your monthly budget.

If you don’t have a savings account, now is the time to start one. You can do it the old-fashioned way and stop by the bank, or you can open an account on-line. The important thing? Just start saving! Someday you’ll be glad you did.