Prioritizing financial responsibilities, such as paying off debt, saving for a home, starting a business or a family and contributing to savings, can be difficult. The amount of savings set aside in an “emergency fund” depends on each individual’s situation. However, the optimal “emergency fund” would be able to cover six months’ to one year’s living expenses.
Creating a safety net—a savings account—significantly supports your long-term and short-term goals. Initially, the savings can be as little as $5 or $10 a week. Start by skipping the daily coffee run or breakfast drive-thru and instead put that money into a savings account.
Automatic banking makes it easy to set aside money in a separate account. Set up a weekly, bi-weekly or monthly transfer of a set figure from your main account into a secondary account. When the money is “taken off the top,” you’ll be less likely to miss it. Don’t look at it every week or every month. Look at it once a year and see how it grows.
Getting started is often the biggest challenge. One option for kick starting a savings fund is to invest in a piece of property that can be sold later down the road for a profit. Another alternative is selling a valuable horse or two to generate funds to establish a savings.
Sometimes the savings can bail you out from an unplanned expense. If you need to use the money for such an expense, don’t beat yourself up, just start again. Paying cash can save you hundreds of dollars down the road as compared to using credit cards.
A financial plan goes hand-in-hand with saving. The local cooperative extension and Farm Credit office can assist with creating a financial plan for your equine business. One free online source is The Farm Credit of the Virginia’s Credit Knowledge Center, which can be found at www.FarmCreditKnowledgeCenter.com.