Save Smart - Budget to Ahieve Financial Success

+ Why Save

Benefits of saving money range from financial stability to achieving your dreams. Understanding the importance of saving money can make life easier and fuller. Saving money is a long term process and requires planning.

Have More Choices

What if you want to start your own business or move to a different city to take a different job?

It takes money to do these things. Having the maturity and foresight to save money helps allow people the opportunity to achieve their dreams.

Save for Emergency Fund

What happens if you lose your source of income and you can't pay bills anymore? What are you going to do?

Money should be saved for an emergency expenditure, which may suddenly arise. Saving a small amount of money often and devloping a fund a fund will help ease stress during an unexpected crisis.

Save for the Future

What do you want? Do you want to buy a house or a car?

In today's economic conditions big purchases are going to require down payments. Saving a little bit of money each month will ensure your future dreams come true.

Peace of Mind

Wouldn't you agree your financial condition often is reflected in your daily life?

Those who are living from paycheck to paycheck are more prone to stress. Having a sufficient amount of money does provide confidence, freedom and peace of mind.

Still Having Trouble Saving?
Save Flow Chart

+ Save For College

Start saving for a college education as soon as possible. The sooner you start, the easier it will be, and the more flexibility you will have when it comes to college choices. Here are some practical tips on how to get started:

1. Set Reasonable Goals.

Choose a specific dollar amount, such as the projected cost of public college tuition. Or choose to devote a fixed percentage of income to future college costs. Having a clearly defined goal, will help in planning, reaching, and measuring progress towards that goal.

2. Start Saving As Soon As Possible

Time is your greatest asset. The sooner you start to save, the more time there will be for your savings to grow.

3. Make Saving Automatic.

Set up an automatic transfer from your checking account to a savings account or your college savings plan.

4. Save Whatever You Can.

Get started saving, even if all you can save is $10 or $25 a month. Saving something is better than saving nothing. It is much easier to increase the amount you save after you get started.

Calculate how long it would take to become a millionaire

5. Save with a 529 College Savings Plan.

Section 529 College Savings Plans provide a tax-advantaged way of saving for college, similar in concept to a 401(k) or IRA. The earnings in a 529 plan are tax deferred, and distributions are tax free if used to pay for qualified higher eduation expenses. The parent, as the account owner, controls the 529 plan account, not the child. The money in a 529 college savings plan will have a minimal impact on your child’s eligibility for need-based financial aid.

Montana Family Education Savings Program

6. Financial Aid

Financial Aid is one of the avenues students use to pay for college tuition and related expenses. There are many different types of financial aid. Grants or scholarships do not need to be paid back, while loans do.

Types of Financial Aid

+ Saving In and After College

Whether you are in college or have already graduated, in order to save money you need to manage it. Here are a few tips on reducing your expenses:

Entertainment and Exercise

  1. Pick up a local newspaper and check upcoming events for freebies: concerts, arts and crafts fairs, theater, festivals, art galleries, and museums.
  2. Do entertaining things that don't cost money: visit friends, hike, ride, skateboard, rollerblade, or read.
  3. Be creative. Watch movies on your computer or make your own movie or music video.

Food, Meals, Grocery Shopping

  1. Buy only what you need. Make a list before you shop and stick to it.
  2. Devise a budget. Stick to your grocery budget by shopping the perimeter where the necessities are.
  3. Eat generic. Brand name food items cost extra due to advertising costs.

Clothing, Accessories, Furniture, and General Purchases

  1. Avoid impulse buys. Even if it's on sale, do you really need it?
  2. Defer gratification. Credit card debt is rampant in the United States. Why not wait and buy with cash savings?
  3. Garage/yard sales. These offer a different breed of bargain than flea markets.

Credit Cards and Finances

  1. Avoid plastic. Use cards for emergencies only and pay off purchases before they accrue interest.
  2. Avoid the ATM. Fees will eat your savings. Withdraw a lump sum once, for the week, based on a budget.
  3. Don't bounce checks. Doing so is costly due to bank and store fees. Plus it damages your credit rating.


  1. Borrow if it’s possible. Before putting out money for a textbook, check to see if someone else on campus has one.
  2. Sell them. Sell books from previous semesters to pay for current course books.
  3. Check online. Many online retailers have used books for less.

+ Learn to Save S.M.A.R.T.

One aspect of saving is save money on the items you buy, looking for deals or shopping where prices are cheaper, but what about saving for your future needs and wants? Learning to save and putting away money for later needs and wants is one of the single most important aspects of being financially smart. Using the same S.M.A.R.T. criteria as Setting SMART Goals, you can learn to save smart.

S: Set a Savings Goal

Interest RateMonthly DepositAmount in savings account after:
1 Year2 Years3 Years4 Years

M: Measure It

A: Is Your Goal Attainable?

R: Be Reasonable

T: Time Matters

Montana University System Seal is a product of the Montana University System, Student Financial Services, a program within the Office of the Commissioner of Higher Education.