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8 Things Everyone Should Be Saving For

1. Paying Off Debt

Before you can start saving for anything worthwhile, you have to pay off your debt. If you don't deal with it, it can lead to health problems, loss of assets, bankruptcy, poverty, and more. Once you've paid off the debts, you can focus on saving money and moving forward with financial goals.

2. Medical Emergencies

Even if you are young and healthy, medical emergencies can happen. And if you have children, it is especially important to have health insurance in place. Kids get sick more often and need more medical attention than their parents. You want to be able to provide the best care possible — and pay for it — so they can stay healthy and happy.

3. Periods of Unemployment

You never know if you might have a job tomorrow. That's why having 3-6 months in liquid cash is so important. And if you are anticipating a job loss or less hours at work, go through your bills and cut back on services, like extra cable channels, that you can live without.

4. Retirement

While saving for retirement seems like a no brainer, you might be surprised at the number of people who put this off until it's too late. There are also situations, of course, where people are already in a financial bind — which turns out to be a lifelong issue — that renders them unable to prepare for life after they're able or willing (or given the opportunity) to work. Make sure this isn't an issue for you by starting a fund in the present for your future retirement — whether it's a 401(k) through your employer or dedicated savings on your own if you're self-employed.

5. Children's College Funds

Planning ahead for college is essential. Whether you are saving money with Upromise, a savings account or grandparents are going to chip in, it's important to start putting a plan in place for your little ones. When I went to college, it was $20,000 a year for a private school education. Now? Upwards of $40,000 a year.

In addition, as kids get into middle school and high school, starting research on additional forms of college money like grants, loans, scholarships, etc., is even more important.

6. Home and Car Repairs

In the last 2 years, we have had to replace our dryer, microwave, dishwasher and several car repairs. We also had to buy a snowblower, after 10 years of going without one, because this winter was so bad! Because of how much each cost, we had savings put aside to cover these annoying (but necessary) household items. As it depleted savings, we made sure to build that savings back up for the future.

7. The Fun Stuff

Treating yourself once in awhile makes saving money worth it! Whether it is a vacation, new TV, deck or new car, take a family vote and figure out what works best for your family (and budget).

8. Caring for Elderly Parents

My dad is 70 years old and has Alzheimer's. He has been in a nursing home for a few years now, at a cost of $10k a month! It is an outrageous amount of money to think about. He is getting great care and he was smart enough to save money for years to pay for his care. My mom is getting up there in years and so is my mother in law... it's something we have to think about!

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