If asked to imagine what it would take to feel financially stable, most of us will envision having a certain amount of money in the bank.

Saving money is an essential part of financial wellness and important insurance for unexpected expenses. It’s hard to feel at ease when you know one car repair would put you in a pinch.

Researchers estimate only 18% of people have enough savings for six months of expenses, and about 28% of people have no savings at all. (1) Whether because of lifestyle creep or economic factors, saving money can be challenging. But, for most of us, some amount of saving is possible if we build the proper habits.

Here are four ways to get the savings ball rolling.

1. Start with a Small Savings Goal

While saving for retirement or a college fund are worthwhile goals, they can also feel unobtainable if you’re starting with little to no savings. In the beginning, don’t set your sights too high. Make a small goal to begin.

Something as little as $20 a week or even a month is better than nothing. The key is to begin the habit of saving. Choose an amount that feels doable and commit to it for several months. Watching the account grow will motivate you to keep saving.

Saving money: Start with a Small Savings Goal

2. Use the 50/50 Rule

Anytime you receive a windfall, put half in savings. Bonuses, tax returns, or monetary gifts can be easy ways to boost your savings totals. Knowing in advance that you will put half aside can take some of the decision struggles out of what to do with extra money.

Prioritizing savings first gives you the freedom to enjoy what is left over.

Financial Health: Use the 50/50 Rule

3. Give Yourself Cash for Spending Money

If you are someone who struggles with impulse buying, switching to a cash system can help. It’s harder to part with paper money than to swipe a card. Studies show that using a credit card can lead to higher spending and more impulse purchases. (2)

Using cash is essentially a way to put the brakes on your spending. The visual representation of your money diminishing has a practical restraining effect.

Saving Money: Give Yourself Cash for Spending Money

4. Buy It Later

When you see something you’d like to purchase, institute the “buy it later” philosophy. It can be challenging to say no when we want something, so instead, tell yourself you can buy it later if you really want it.

Experts recommend waiting anywhere from 24-72 hours. (3) If after that time you still want the item, go for it, but often people find when they pause and wait, they end up skipping the purchase. The savings from purchases not made add up quickly.

“Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”― Viktor E. Frankl

Financial Wellness: Buy It Later

Make Saving a Priority

A robust level of savings is the foundation of financial security and an essential part of overall wellness. When we prioritize habits, such as saving, that contribute to feelings of well-being, we lay the groundwork for greater levels of happiness and contentment.

Small steps to build up a financial safety net will pay out big.