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How Much Should I Save Each Month?

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It has not been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners.

When you pad your savings account, you’re ensuring your current and future financial security. Not only does saving provide you with a safety net when life unexpectedly sends you tumbling, but it will pave a way to an enjoyable retirement so you won’t have to work forever.

But exactly how much should you be tucking aside each month? There’s no hard-and-fast rule that everyone should follow, but there are guidelines and money management tips that you should follow. Ultimately, what’s important is evaluating your personal savings goals so you can make them a reality.

How much should I save monthly?

When calculating how much you need to save per month, the first step is to create a budget if you don’t already have one. Without a budget, you won’t have a good idea of how much you’re spending each month and where. If you already have a budget, it’s time to revisit and refine it. Comb through your expenses and see where you can trim the fat (think monthly subscription services that you never use). Take any extra cash and funnel that to your savings goals.

The next step in creating a monthly savings plan is determining your goals. “A proper monthly savings plan will start with forming goals, and will consider different aspects of those goals,” said Dan Stous, a Certified Financial Planner and the director of financial planning and a wealth advisor for Flagstone Financial Management. “What are you saving for? Retirement? An emergency fund? A wedding? Unique goals with their own time horizons and different costs will impact a savings plan.”

Your goal should be to have a long-term savings account, a retirement account and an emergency fund (this should be stocked with enough cash to cover three to six months of expenses). From there, you can get as detailed as possible. If you want to save some cash for a new car, create a new savings account for that goal.

One easy way to get started with saving each month is to take the “out of sight, out of mind” approach. In other words: Automate everything.

“I would recommend automating as much as possible when creating a monthly savings plan,” said Michael Pappis, the CEO and founder of Amity Financial Planning. “For example, if you are looking to start saving in a Roth IRA retirement account, set up an automated system that transfers a set amount of money from your bank account to your Roth IRA each month. That way, you can pay yourself first — by saving for your financial independence — instead of spending this money on unnecessary things.”

No matter what your approach to saving each month is, what’s vital is that you start immediately. In the end, saving something — even if it’s as little as $50 a month — is better than saving nothing.

“Recognizing that you have more than you need and then just putting the excess money in a high-yield savings account, for example, is better than spending it,” Stous said. “It might not be near the amount you should be saving, but again, it’s better than nothing, so don’t let indecision and analysis paralysis prevent you from doing something.”

Understanding the 50/30/20 rule

One solid savings technique is the 50/30/20 rule. Here’s how that breaks down:

  • 50% of your budget is spent on needs, like your rent or mortgage payments
  • 30% of your budget is spent on wants, like dining out with friends or a gym membership
  • 20% of your budget is funneled into savings

Keep in mind that these percentages are based on your take-home pay. Let’s take a look at how the 50/30/20 rule would shake out with monthly savings in mind.

Yearly SalaryTake-Home Pay*Annual Savings (20%)Monthly Savings
*Take-home pay based on 2019 tax bracket for individual taxpayers.

As you can see, the 50/30/20 rule shines because of its simplicity. “One of the main benefits of the 50/30/20 rule is that it establishes a clear framework for someone who wants to begin saving and doesn’t know how to start,” Pappis said. “It allows you to establish a bucket system for your spending and savings that is straightforward and easy to follow.”

How much should I save monthly for retirement?

To make sure you’ll live comfortably throughout your golden years, it’s important to start saving as much as possible for your post-work life.

Begin your retirement savings plan by calculating how much you’ll spend each year of retirement. To make determining this figure easier, consider using a retirement calculator, which considers health care costs, life expectancy, housing expenses and more. Once you have that figure in mind, you can formulate your nest egg goal.

One rule of thumb for retirement savings is the 25x rule, which says that your goal should be to have saved 25 times your annual retirement expenses in order to live comfortably after you stop working. Break that number down into a monthly plan to keep your savings on track.

5 tips to boost your savings

Saving money is important, but sometimes it’s easier said than done. If you’re having trouble getting started saving or want to start saving more, here are some tips that may help you out:

  1. Use a budgeting app. A budgeting app can help you keep your spending and saving on track. By having your budget connected to your phone, your savings goals are always a fingertip away. Before you spend money on something, open up your budget and make sure your savings are up to par first.
  2. Stash the bump. If you get a raise, save that extra money instead of spending it. “This avoids ‘lifestyle creep,’ which is the tendency to spend more over time without even realizing it,” Stous said.
  3. Automate it. As we mentioned, make savings a priority by setting up an account and having money from each paycheck automatically deposited there.
  4. Cut expenses. Go through your monthly expenses and cut back. Two easy areas to reduce spending include dining out and subscription services. Instead of meeting friends at a restaurant, have them over for a potluck dinner. Cut out any subscription services that you haven’t recently used. Take all that extra cash and stick it in your savings account.
  5. Be realistic. Avoid burning out on saving by setting unrealistic goals. If you save more than your budget can actually handle, you could end up quitting altogether. Start small for a better chance at sticking to the plan.

The bottom line

Saving monthly is vital to establishing financial security in both the short- and long-term. The key is to get started with a plan that works for you. Think about your financial goals and the best way to attain them. Then get started and watch your savings steadily increase.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

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How Much Do You Get for Selling Plasma?

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It has not been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners.

More and more people are working in the gig economy, taking on extra work to help boost their income. Selling plasma has become a popular side hustle, as it takes less time than many other gig economy jobs and it actually helps people in need.

Plasma is the clear portion of your blood that contains water, salts, enzymes, antibodies and proteins. It is mainly composed of water, and it’s used by your body to form blood clots, fight diseases and more. If you choose to sell your plasma, doctors use it to treat immune-system deficiencies, severe burns, and a variety of rare diseases.

Selling plasma is not without drawbacks. Unlike donating blood, the process of extracting plasma is more involved. Here’s everything you need to know about this potential side hustle.

In this guide, we’ll cover:

What to expect when selling plasma

The challenges of selling plasma

How much can you make selling plasma?

How to find a plasma donation center

Helpful tips to prepare for selling plasma

FAQs on selling plasma

What to expect when selling plasma

Donating blood and donating plasma are not the same thing. If you’re ready to sell plasma, be prepared for a unique experience.

“The process of selling plasma is different than when you donate blood,” said Dr. Ross Herron, divisional chief medical officer of the American Red Cross. “During a plasma-only donation, blood is drawn from one arm and sent through a high-tech machine that collects your plasma and then safely and comfortably returns your red cells and platelets back to you, along with some saline.”

The entire process of donating or selling your plasma will take a little over an hour, according to Herron. You’ll need to bring several documents with you to prove your identity: Your driver’s license or ID card, proof of residency (such as a utility bill) and your Social Security card.

After the donation is complete, common side effects include dizziness and soreness at the needle-entry point. Some plasma donors have also reported feeling extremely dehydrated and tingling sensations in their arms and legs.

Dr. Janet Hershman, head of medical affairs for BioLife — a plasma collection center operated by Takeda Pharmaceutical Company — said the positives outweigh the negatives.

“One common misconception about donating plasma is that it’s not safe,” said Hershman. “The actual process of donating plasma is a low-risk procedure that usually has minimal or no side effects, and it provides an increasingly needed scarce resource so that people with chronic and rare diseases can benefit from life-saving, plasma-derived therapies.”

The challenges of selling plasma

In order to donate your plasma, you must first meet a set of criteria. All donation centers require you to be at least 18 years old, weigh 110 pounds or more and be in good health overall. Prior to the donation, you must undergo a physical exam by a medical professional and a receive a blood test. The day of the donation, if you are feeling unwell, you should reschedule your appointment.

Your eligibility might be impacted by personal health issues. If you have a history with HIV or other infectious diseases, you will not be able to sell your plasma.

If you have type AB blood, you’re in luck. “Those with type AB blood are especially encouraged to donate plasma,” said Herron. “Type AB is the universal plasma type and can be transfused to patients of any blood type in an emergency.”

How much can you make selling plasma?

How much you can earn selling your plasma depends on how often you donate. The American Red Cross limits your donations to once every 28 days, but many private centers allow you to donate twice per week, with at least 48 hours in between.

The amount you’re paid per donation depends on several factors, including how long the donation takes, your weight (the more you weigh, the more plasma can be donated) and more. Generally, you’ll see centers offering between $30 and $60 per session. Most private centers deposit your payments on a prepaid debit card that can be used just like your other payment cards.

How to find a plasma donation center

If you’re ready to sell your plasma, you first need to locate a reputable company. Octapharma Plasma operates 80 donation centers across the nation. Grifols runs donation centers under a variety of names in more than 100 countries.

You can also use the search tool on to locate an International Quality Plasma Program (IQPP) certified donation center near you. An IQPP certification means the company adheres to a set of standards created by the Plasma Protein Therapeutics Association, an organization dedicated to maintaining high-quality plasma donation centers.

Helpful tips to prepare for selling plasma

Prior to your donation, you’ll want to prepare yourself for the experience. The Red Cross has several suggestions:

  • Eat foods rich in iron, like red meat, spinach and beans.
  • Get a good night of sleep.
  • Drink plenty of clear, nonalcoholic fluids and be well hydrated.
  • Wear comfortable clothing, including a shirt that will allow staffers easy access to your arm.
  • Bring a book or download some podcasts to enjoy during the process.

FAQs on selling plasma

Who is eligible to sell plasma?

Adults in generally good health are eligible to donate or sell plasma. You must be at least 18 years old and weigh 110 pounds or more.

How long does it take?

The entire plasma donation process will last a couple of hours. Typically, your first donation will take the longest because you must undergo the medical screening.

Are there side effects or other risks to selling plasma?

Common side effects to selling plasma include dizziness or lightheadedness. Some donors experience slight pain at the needle entry point.

How often can you sell plasma?

The Red Cross limits your plasma donations to once every 28 days, while private centers allow you to donate twice per week.

Can you donate plasma for free?

You can donate your plasma for free to the Red Cross.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

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7 Ways to Cool Down Summer Spending

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It has not been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners.


Summer is here and that means a few different things: battles with kids over sunscreen application, increased outdoor activities and a strained bank account. According to a 2018 study from LendEDU, the average adult American spends $2,229 during the summer, making it the second-most expensive season behind winter.

After being stuck inside your house for most of the colder months, it’s only natural to get excited about the outdoors and going on vacation. Unfortunately, leaving the comfort of your couch increases your expenses. Here are some tips to help you navigate the hotter months of the year without breaking a sweat.

Manage vacation expectations

One of the best ways to be able to afford a summer vacation is to work it into your yearly budget ahead of time. Steve Zakelj, a certified financial planner with Flatirons Wealth Management in Boulder, Colo. explained that a good vacation starts with planning.

“Start saving for it with $100, 500, $1,000 a month in the winter,” he said. “Set up a vacation account that gets an automatic deposit every month of the year. This way, you’re prepared for your summer trip and have a definitive budget you can use without guilt or long-term problems. Keep the monthly contributions going year-round so you’re already saving for next summer’s fun the moment you get back.”

Once you have your budget set, research places that are within your price range. If you love traveling overseas, try staying at budget-friendly, off the beaten path locations, like Sophia, Bulgaria. The average price of a hostel in Bulgaria’s capital is just $6.99 per night.

You can also keep your traveling costs low by thinking ahead. If you’re going to be out on the town a lot, there’s really no need to book an expensive hotel. If you are thinking the more activities the better, pick out ones that are affordable. “At your destination, look for free or cheap shows, events or festivals as opposed to venues that require the purchase of a pricey ticket,” explained Zakelj.

Another way to reduce vacation expenses is to stay put for a staycation. Plan local activities, hit up your favorite restaurant. Cutting out travel and accommodation expenses will allow you to funnel your money to some fun around town.

Get creative with child care

Having your kids home from school can make summer expensive, especially if you need to pay for child care. First, try asking other parents what their plans are — they may be privy to information about affordable camps or summer clubs you didn’t know existed. You may also find someone with a flexible schedule who can share child care duties with you. You take the kids one week, they take them the next and that frees up time for both of you to get stuff done without paying for day care or babysitters.

If you have relatives or your parents live nearby, see if it’s possible for your kids to visit for a week or two during the summer. Your loved ones get the benefit of seeing your kids, and you get the benefit of a free week of child care.

The YMCA is also a great source for affordable summer camps. This organization operates more than 1,850 day camps across the country. Search the YMCA site to find a camp near you.

When you do have the kids around, there are countless low-cost activities to keep them busy. “Enjoy the outdoors on the cheap,” suggested Zakelj. “Take hikes, go fishing, ride bikes, etc.  After an initial expense, most of these activities can have very low ongoing expenses.”

Pause your subscriptions

According to a study by tech consulting firm Waterstone Management Group, the average adult American spends $237.33 per month on subscription services. Summer, with its long days and beautiful weather, presents a great time to cut back on these costs. Are you running outside more? Consider canceling or pausing your gym membership. Find yourself hanging out with friends more often than sitting at home binge-watching TV shows? Cancel your Netflix account until the fall.

Take some time and comb through your bank account statements to find the subscription charges. Then, go through each one to see if you actually use it and if it truly adds value to your life. If you the answer is “no” to any of the services, cut away.

Don’t overdo it on the air conditioning

As the days get hotter and hotter, keep in mind that one big budget buster is your power bill. The Department of Energy says that air conditioners cost American homeowners about $29 billion annually. If you keep the AC cranked day and night, that’s a lot of money down the drain.

Instead of cooling an empty house, invest in a programmable thermostat that you can keep 7 to 10 degrees hotter than the setting you keep it at when you’re home. Doing this will save you about 10% on your power bill annually. If your AC unit is outdated, it might make sense to purchase a new, high-efficiency unit. Before you take that plunge, do some research on smart ways to finance the purchase.

Beyond taking steps to reduce energy costs with your AC unit directly, you can install ceiling fans to help circulate air. Consider planting leafy plants outside of your home (especially near windows), as they’ll shade your home and help keep it cool.

Take advantage of BBQ weather

You can avoid overspending during the summer by cutting back on dining out. The average American household shells out $2,667 on food costs outside of the home. The weather is nice and the days are longer, so why not have friends over to your place instead of going to a restaurant? As Zakelj explained, even reducing smaller expenses will help you keep spending under wraps.

“If you eat out regularly, think about eating your dinner at home and just going out for ice cream afterward,” said Zakelj. “You still get the fun of a trip out but just buying dessert is much cheaper than paying for an entire meal. Or have friends over to the back patio for BBQ and beer instead of hitting restaurants with them.”

Be realistic about wedding season

One big reason for summer overspending is weddings. According to wedding marketplace The Knot, the average amount guests spend on an out-of-town wedding is a whopping $901, including travel, attire, accomodations and gifts.

If you have to attend, save some cash by searching for cheap lodging. Check sites like for deals on rooms, or consider splitting the cost of a house through Airbnb or Vrbo. If you’re traveling alone, see if there’s another single friend with whom you can split a room. If you opt for a hotel, try to stay at the one reserved by the bride and groom — it’s common for the couple to request a block of rooms for their guests, often at a rate lower than listed prices.

As for traveling to the wedding, if it’s within driving distance, see if anyone wants to carpool to save on gas costs. Look into Amtrak, as it often has deals when you travel with multiple companions. Some airlines, like Southwest and United Airlines, also offer group rates, but you’ll need at least 10 people to take advantage of them.

While we all like to look spiffy for big events, there’s no need to break the bank on your wedding attire. Need a tux? Rent one from a site like, which lets you try one on for free. Looking for a dress? Try, where you’ll get 20% off your first rental.

Also, keep in mind: You don’t have to attend a wedding simply because you were invited. If the cost is high, ask yourself if you’re really that close to the couple getting hitched. If you’re not, skip it and send a gift instead.

Speaking of gifts: The earlier you buy from the wedding registry, the better. There will be plenty of options available, giving you the chance to purchase something the couple wants that’s well within your budget. If there’s not something affordable on the registry, ask other guests if they want to purchase a larger item together.

Beware of summer sales

There are plenty of sales during the summer — from July 4 weekend to back-to-school — but that doesn’t mean you need to hit every one. Take an inventory of all the items you already have, like notebooks and pens from the previous school year, or kids swim apparel that will still fit next summer. Once you know what you have, you can make a list of what you actually need. Let that list be your guide to summer sales. If it’s on the list, look into the sale. If it’s not, move along. Having a concrete reminder of the things you need will help you avoid spontaneous purchases that can derail your long-term savings goals.

The bottom line

It can be easy to overspend during the summer, but there are plenty of ways to avoid it. You just have to take the time to think through purchases, do some research and plan wisely. Dedicate yourself to streamlining your spending and you’ll see autumn arrive with your budget intact.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.