Small Steps to Saving

To reach financial goals, like college or down payment on a home or a special trip, we need to save money. But it can be hard to start saving.

One way strategy that works is to start small and to save regularly! And when I say, start small – I mean small.

How much do you think you'd save in one year if you put:

  • One penny in a piggy bank the first day
  • Two pennies in the bank the second day
  • Three pennies in the bank the third day
  • Four pennies the next day … and so on?

What did you estimate or calculate? You can find the answer at the end of the post. I'll tell you that it's a nice amount of money to put towards a savings goal!

Start small and save regularly are excellent strategies. Another smart saving strategy is to "put it on automatic." For example, many employers in the US will let you direct a certain amount of your paycheck to go directly to your savings or retirement account. Once you make the decision to save this money regularly and put it into action, then you don't have to decide each time you are paid.

Research shows that people who put their saving and investing on automatic are more likely to have their account values grow then people who don't.

This week across the nation we are celebrating saving with America Saves Week. This is an excellent time to review your finances, decide what you want to save for, and set up a system that will allow you to save automatically. That's why the America Saves Week theme is Set a Goal. Make a Plan. Save Automatically.

Even if you are already saving, decide if you can save more or start a new savings goal. Join thousands of others who are pledging to pay down debt, save money, and take financial action during America Saves Week.

Set a savings goal at

Back to the idea of starting small with your savings: save your pennies (adding one cent each day) and you'll have $667.95 after 365 days! Were you close in your estimate? What a fun way to jump start your savings!

Would you like a checkoff sheet to keep track of your progress?  Go to the University of Illinois Extension's website,  and look under Resources to download a free, check-off sheet to help you start saving today!