5 On Your Side

Know where money goes to jump start your savings

Posted November 9, 2020 6:15 p.m. EST
Updated November 9, 2020 8:35 p.m. EST

Bills for housing, credit card balances, unexpected car repairs all require you to spend, and the pandemic caused many people to clear out their savings.

So how do you save?

When there’s even a little money left after bills, do you pay off debt or boost savings?

"My best plan is to take the money before I ever even see it, so I don’t even know it exists,” said Andrea Bloome.

She took that approach to attack her credit card debt and plan for her future.

While it’s challenging to tackle both goals, it’s possible, and starts with knowing where your money’s going.

Consumer Reports says online tools can help you track spending, including Mint.com, which is free and YNAB, short for You Need A Budget. That one costs $84 a year.

Then, look for ways to free up cash.

The biggest impact usually comes from changes to what you spend on housing or transportation.

But small fixes, like making coffee yourself or cooking at home, can add up over time.

With debt, it’s best to pay off high-interest credit cards first, then lower-interest debt, such as student loans.

Those with a lot of debt need to be patient. It can take time to become fully debt-free.

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