Brenda Langenberg

Oct 15 2018

Healthy Money Habits: Pay Yourself First (Part 1 of 4)


Financial health is defined as describing one’s personal financial situation. There are many different pieces included in the overall picture of one’s financial health. Some of these pieces include the amount of savings you have, how much of your income you’re spending on expenses, and how much you are putting away for retirement. In our 4-part Healthy Money Habits Series, you will read and learn about financial tips and tricks to better your overall financial health.

Pay Yourself First

We’ll start with a habit that not many people take the time to do, pay yourself first. The key to successful saving is to simply save first. Before you pay bills, before spending anything on other expenses, remember to put some money into savings.

52-week-money-challenge-graphA program I began using a few years ago is called the 52 Week Money Challenge. There are many forms of this challenge, I will tell you about the form I use. This challenge leaves me with a nice monetary cushion by the end of the year. Beginning on the first Friday of the year, deposit $1 into a designated savings account that you will not to touch or withdraw from. The next Friday, a deposit of $2 is made. The third week in January, $3 more will be added to the account. This continues for 52 weeks and by the end of the year in December, you’ll have $1,378 to spend or continue saving.

Establish an Emergency Fund

A second habit that is key to your overall financial health and is also related to saving, is to maintain an Emergency Fund. Putting money away specifically for an Emergency Fund every pay period, or even once a month, is important in ensuring you are ready for whatever life may throw at you. Beginning an Emergency Fund is also a great way of avoiding debt or gaining more debt. Be sure to create a separate account you cannot touch unless you have an ‘Emergency’ situation. A good rule to follow when it comes to your Emergency Fund is to keep an account balance that would cover at least three months of expenses. If that is an unrealistic amount for you, start out smaller. Work toward growing your account to one month of expenses.

Hills Bank has solutions available such as our Savers Club account and Simple Change program! Both are great options for personal savings or emergency fund accounts. Visit to learn more about our Savers Club account and/or Simple Change program.

Stay tuned for Part 2 of our Healthy Money Habits series for ways to keep on top of your financial trends. What tips help you to pay yourself first?

View the complete 4-Part Healthy Money Habits Series:

Brenda Langenberg

About Brenda Langenberg

Brenda Langenberg is Vice President and Branch Manager at Hills Bank’s Mount Vernon and Lisbon locations. She has been at Hills Bank since 1992 helping customers with their banking needs. Brenda can be reached at

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