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How Much Money Should I Save Per Month?

4 min read

how much money should I save per month

Written By

Nick Saraev
Nick Saraev

You're likely aware that setting aside a slice of your income for savings is crucial and something to begin as early as possible. Yet, the question of exactly how much of your monthly income should be earmarked for savings is a bit more elusive.

With a myriad of saving goals vying for your attention, determining the right portion of your earnings to save each month can feel overwhelming.

Contributing to savings is an essential practice for safeguarding your future, adapting to life's fluctuations, and maintaining peace of mind. In saying that, acknowledging the unique nature of everyone's financial landscape is also fundamental.

In this article, we'll explore not just the ideal monthly savings target but also introduce the tools and strategies to help you reach your financial milestones, one month at a time.

What is the Right Amount to Save Each Month?

Let’s get right to the point: How much should you actually be saving each month?

Ideally, aiming to allocate 20% of your income towards savings is a solid benchmark.

It's a figure that offers some flexibility. While some may find room to save more, others might stretch to meet this goal. But as a starting point, it creates a structured approach to reaching your savings goals.

Dividing your earnings thoughtfully is key. A significant portion will naturally go towards monthly expenses: The essentials like bills, food, and rent that keep your life running smoothly.

Then, there’s the joy sector: Spending on desires, be it the latest tech, subscription services, or nights out.

Understanding your budget becomes essential here, as it varies dramatically from person to person. Your financial priorities, needs, and indulgences are uniquely yours.

When creating your spending plan, ensure that 20% of your earnings are dedicated to savings and debt payments. This segment of your budget will be about actively building towards your future, balancing between growing your nest egg and diminishing debts.

Now let’s look at a practical example of this in action:

Let's say the average monthly earnings for a Canadian after tax are CAD $3,000. Here’s how you might distribute these earnings:

  • Savings and Debt Payments: 20% = CAD $600. This goes into your savings account and towards paying off any debts you may have.

  • Essential Monthly Expenses: 50% = CAD $1,500. This covers your rent, utilities, groceries, insurance, and other non-negotiables.

  • Discretionary Spending: 30% = CAD $900. This is for your "wants," including dining out, entertainment, subscriptions, and personal indulgences.

This allocation keeps your savings on track while ensuring you have enough for both your needs and wants. By adjusting the percentages based on your individual income and expenses, you can create a budget that supports your lifestyle and financial goals.

Creating Your Blueprint for Saving Money

Once you have an idea about how to break up your earnings, the next step is a cursory glance at your bank account.

It involves a deep dive into the specifics of your after-tax income, living expenses, and monthly expenditures. This process is as unique as fingerprints—what works for one may not suit another. Let's unpack these components to lay a strong foundation for your savings journey.

Your Earnings, Unveiled

Understanding your After-Tax Income is your starting line. It's the real measure of what you have to work with each month, stripping away the illusions before even considering savings. From this figure, every plan, budget, and dream you have finds its roots.

  • Living Expenses: The non-negotiables: Rent or mortgage, utilities, groceries, and insurance all consume a portion of your income. Tailoring your savings around these fixed costs ensures you're not stretching beyond your means.

  • Monthly Expenses: The day-to-day spending and the occasional splurge. Tracking these helps identify where you can adjust and redirect funds toward your savings without feeling the pinch.

Each category above needs a careful assessment, acknowledging the elasticity within your monthly expenses to find savings opportunities.

The Personalized Path

Here's where the expertise of a Certified Financial Planner shines. An expert can act as more than just an advisor. They're your financial architects, building a plan that fits your life's blueprint.

They can provide insights and strategies tailored specifically to your financial situation, guiding you toward achieving your savings goals with precision.

Considerations for choosing the right savings plan:

  • Emergency Fund: A safety net for life's unpredictable moments.

  • Retirement Savings: Planning for your future self's comfort and security.

  • High-Interest Debt: Prioritizing repayments can free up more money for savings.

Exploring Savings Account Avenues

In Canada, the types of savings accounts are as diverse as those in our vast country. Whether it's a high-interest savings account for your emergency fund or exploring the types of savings accounts for specific goals, the options are plentiful.

Each account type offers unique benefits and considerations, from accessibility to the impact of interest rates on your savings growth.

Taking the time to understand the nuances of your unique financial situation, with the help of a certified guide and the right tools, can illuminate the path to your savings goals.

Setting a Savings Goal

With a blueprint for success in place, you can now begin to focus on your savings goals. These aren't just figures pulled from the air; they're carefully considered targets that reflect your life's needs, ambitions, and inevitable uncertainties.

The Foundation: Emergency Fund

A cornerstone of any robust savings plan is establishing an Emergency Fund. Life has its way of throwing unexpected challenges our way—be it sudden job loss, urgent home repairs, or unforeseen medical expenses.

Having a safety net in place is indispensable. The goal is to build a fund covering approximately six months' worth of living expenses. This Six Month Emergency Fund acts as a financial buffer, ensuring you can navigate through life's surprises without derailing your long-term financial health.

Looking Ahead: Retirement Savings

While the immediate gratification of spending can be tempting, prioritizing Retirement Savings is crucial for your future well-being.

Starting early, even with modest amounts, can leverage the power of compound interest, significantly impacting your retirement nest egg over the years. It's about securing your financial independence and comfort in later life, making today's sacrifices worthwhile.

Setting Informed Goals

Understanding the Pros and Cons of High Yield Savings Accounts can provide valuable insight as you set these goals. High-yield accounts can be a powerful tool for growing your emergency and retirement funds more efficiently, thanks to their higher interest rates compared to traditional savings accounts.

However, it's important to weigh these benefits against any potential drawbacks, such as higher minimum balance requirements or limited access to funds, to ensure they align with your overall savings strategy.

By thoughtfully setting your savings goals and understanding the tools at your disposal, you're not just planning for the future; you're actively building a foundation for financial peace of mind and security.

Maximizing Your Monthly Savings

Now that you understand how much you need to save and have set your goals let's explore some effective strategies for stashing away that 20% or even more each month.

Automating Your Savings Journey

One of the simplest yet most powerful tools at your disposal is Automatic Transfers. By setting up an automatic transfer to a High Yield Savings Account or a Money Market Account, you're ensuring that a portion of your income is saved before you have the chance to spend it. This 'set and forget' method not only simplifies your savings process but also harnesses the magic of compounding interest over time.

Benefits of Automation:

  • Ensures consistent savings contributions without manual intervention.

  • Helps avoid the temptation to spend before saving.

  • Takes advantage of compound interest in high-yield accounts.

High Yield Savings Account: Your Savings Amplifier

Opting for a High Yield Savings Account significantly boosts your savings potential compared to a traditional savings account. These accounts offer higher interest rates, meaning your money grows faster, making them an ideal choice for both your emergency fund and long-term savings goals.

Understanding the differences between using a high-interest savings account compared to a regular savings account is also crucial.

The former can dramatically increase your savings over time due to the higher annual percentage yield (APY). Additionally, considering how interest is calculated monthly or yearly can impact the growth of your savings, as more frequent compounding periods can lead to more interest earned.

Balancing Savings and Debt Payments

A strategic approach to your financial health involves not just saving but also smartly managing debt, especially high-interest Debt. Here's how:

  • Prioritize Paying Off High-Interest Debts: These debts can grow faster than your savings, negating your savings efforts. Tackle them first to reduce overall interest paid and free more money for savings.

  • Maintain Minimum Payments on Lower Interest Debts: While focusing on high-interest debts, keep up with minimum payments on others to maintain your credit score.

This balanced strategy ensures you're not only growing your savings but also minimizing costly debt, creating a healthier financial future.

By embracing automatic transfers to the right accounts and balancing your focus between saving and debt repayment, you set the stage for a financially secure future.

You can also dive deeper into making your savings work harder with insights on interest rates on a chequing account to optimize your financial strategy further.

With these tools and strategies in hand, putting away that 20% becomes not just a goal but an achievable reality, propelling you towards your financial milestones with greater ease and efficiency.

Navigating Savings Amidst Debt

What if you're struggling to hit the 20% monthly savings target because of outstanding debt? It's a common predicament, but with a strategic approach, you can manage debt repayment without completely sidelining your savings efforts.

Balancing Acts: Saving vs. Debt Repayment

First, understand that you're not alone in this challenge. Balancing saving with debt repayment requires a nuanced strategy, especially when dealing with Personal Loans and debts that carry a high Annual Percentage Yield (APY).

  • Assess Your Debts: List out all your debts, noting their interest rates and balances. This will help you identify which debts are costing you the most in interest over time.

  • Prioritize High-Interest Debts: Focus on repaying debts with the highest interest rates first, as they grow the fastest and are the most expensive. This is known as the avalanche method and can save you a significant amount in interest payments.

A Dual Approach

While prioritizing high-interest debt repayment, it's also crucial not to halt your savings entirely. Here's how to maintain a balance:

  • Set Minimal Savings Goals: Even if it's not the ideal 20%, aim to save a smaller percentage of your income. This keeps the habit of saving alive and provides a modest cushion for emergencies.

  • Flexible Savings Contributions: As you pay down debt, gradually increase your savings rate. This incremental approach helps you adapt without feeling overwhelmed.

Making Informed Decisions

Considering a balance? Our comparison of interest calculated monthly or yearly offers valuable insights. Understanding how interest is compounded on your savings and debts can influence your repayment and savings strategies, making your money work more efficiently for you.

Managing debt while saving is a delicate balancing act, but with thoughtful prioritization and strategic planning, you can navigate this path successfully. By focusing on high-interest debts and maintaining a savings habit, you create a solid foundation for financial health and future growth.

Enhancing Your Savings with KOHO

In your journey to financial wellness, leveraging the right tools and products can significantly amplify your efforts. From high-interest savings accounts to innovative credit solutions, there's a suite of options designed to bolster your savings and protect your finances.

High-Interest Savings Accounts: Boost Your Savings

A High-Interest Savings Account (HISA) is a powerhouse for savers, offering interest rates significantly higher than traditional savings accounts. This means your money isn't just sitting idle; it's actively growing, making HISAs a cornerstone for both short-term savings goals and long-term financial planning.

Virtual Credit Cards: Spend Smartly

Virtual Credit Cards offer a secure and convenient way to manage your expenses while building your credit score. They provide a buffer against fraud and overspending, ensuring you stay within your budget.

By selecting cards with rewards or cash-back options, you can even get a little extra back from your regular spending.

Overdraft Protection: A Safety Net

Overdraft Protection Coverage acts as a safety net, preventing fees and complications associated with account overdrafts.

While it’s not a tool to be relied upon for regular spending, it provides peace of mind in managing your cash flow and avoiding potential financial hiccups.

Keeping an Eye on Your Credit

Regularly checking your credit score is essential for financial health. It gives you insights into your credit standing, enabling you to make informed decisions about loans, credit cards, and other financial products.

An excellent credit score can also unlock better interest rates, making borrowing more cost-effective when needed.

Discover the Right Tools for You

Incorporating these tools into your financial strategy can make a significant difference in your savings journey.

Discover how to build your credit with KOHO to improve your financial health and save more effectively.

Whether you're optimizing your savings, managing spending, or protecting against unforeseen charges, there’s a range of products designed to support your goals and enhance your financial well-being.

Securing Your Financial Future

In the lifelong journey of personal finance, saving money forms the bedrock upon which your financial stability rests.

By understanding and managing your expenses wisely, you set the stage for achieving your financial goals.

Remember, the path to savings success begins with small, consistent steps. Start by saving a manageable percentage of your income and gradually increase this rate as your financial situation improves.

Each individual's financial journey is unique, emphasizing the value of personalized financial planning. Don't hesitate to seek professional advice or use the right tools that fit your financial situation best.

Saving money isn't just about accumulating wealth, rather, it's about securing your future and achieving the financial freedom to enjoy life's pleasures without compromise.

Note: KOHO product information and/or features may have been updated since this blog post was published. Please refer to our KOHO Plans page for our most up to date account information!

Nick Saraev

Nick is a freelance writer and entrepreneur with a particular interest in business finance. He's been featured in publications like Popular Mechanics and Apple News



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