Holy Schnikes! Are You Saving Money?

Photographed by Raven Ishak.
The importance of a savings account cannot be underestimated. Setting aside four to six months of living expenses in an rainy-day fund is essential for protecting yourself if you lose your job or are faced with an unexpected bill (hello, $500 veterinary invoice). But according to a new study from GoBankingRates.com, 62% of Americans have less than $1,000 in a savings account. And more than 20% have no savings account at all.

This isn't entirely surprising, if you consider how rough things have been during the recession. In October 2009, the U.S. unemployment rate reached a 26-year high at 10%. And even with unemployment falling back to 5.1%, median family wealth in this country dropped from $135,400 in 2007 to $81,200 in 2013 (more than 40%). And that sucks.

But if you do have a full-time job, there are fewer excuses for not opening a savings account and adding to it each month. Sure, there are all kinds of negative connotations around savings (and many millennials are saddled with substantial student loan debt), but most people have some area of their budget that can be trimmed.

Need some help getting started? Check out our story on how to save $1,000 before January — which will put you ahead of 60% of your fellow Americans. If you want to get total financial clarity (and sock away more than $400 in a month), it's never too late to try out our 30-Day Money Challenge.

Sticking to a budget and opening a savings account doesn't need to be a drag. Just imagine all the amazing things you could be saving for.
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