Saving can be extremely difficult to start. Data shows that Australians are generally well-versed in putting money aside, with the average monthly contribution to some type of savings account adding up to over $400. This means that Australians — and young people in particular — are seeing the value of their hard earned cash, but there are some troubling signs here, as well. More than half of Australian households are dipping into their savings to pay a bill or to cover an unexpected expense.

With the average Australian finding it harder each year to set aside money and keep it there, it is more important than ever to develop a strategy for building and maintaining your savings for the future.

Traditional Savings

A great place to start is with standard savings accounts from your local bank or elsewhere. These days, interest rates are often competitive and you can actually net a steady, reliable, and healthy profit from traditional savings. Savings accounts provide a safety net that is crucial to building financial health. While we hope to maintain our savings funds in perpetuity, chances are, you will have to withdraw some of that cash at some point in the near future.

Whether you have to siphon off some in order to buy a new tire or an unanticipated road trip to visit relatives, having easily accessible savings is crucial to keeping yourself out of debt. Australians rank among the highest worldwide in household debt to net income, so anything you can do to eat away at existing expenses while keeping new ones off the books will do you a world of good.

Apart from building up a savings fund, you should park some money in a secondary account designated for ‘emergency’ situations. It is important to keep these dollars separate. While you want to keep cash as a reserve for those unforeseen circumstances, you don’t want money designated for emergency spending to overlap with your savings goals.

Branching Out Into Better Returns

Once you have established a secure footing – setting aside two to three months’ reserve for emergencies and building a separate account specifically for saving – you should shop around for the best rates in other savings categories. CDs or Certificates of Deposit are investment vehicles that often pay out much higher interest rates than traditional savings accounts. In order to invest in a CD, you simply need to specify an amount and time period to begin earning higher returns.

CDs are a staple of the banking world, so your bank will surely offer a variety of options regarding these investment tools. However, it is important to know that CDs work a little differently from other savings schemes. CDs are term deposits, meaning you will be given a better rate, but won’t have access to your money until the term expires. Then you can withdraw the entire amount, plus interest. A great way to take advantage of these offerings is to stagger investments. Breaking your deposit into four or five smaller chunks and buying into varying term durations will give you better access to both higher rates and faster withdrawal availability.

Investing in the Market

Stock and option investing is the final step to financial security. Once your savings have taken off, entering into the stock market can net even greater returns. Today there are a number of great platforms available already, and Robinhood – offering commission free trades – is poised to enter the market soon, as well. The market is rich for the taking, however no return is ever guaranteed, whether you are considering the best cryptocurrencies to invest in or selecting stocks in the manufacturing of solar power industries. The downside can be dramatic, but so can the potential for returns. With a keen eye for high performing commodities and a winning strategy, you can build a substantial nest egg in only a few years. But remember — stocks should only be a portion of your savings portfolio, not the entirety of it.

Building a savings portfolio can be accomplished easily with a little dedication and patience. It won’t happen overnight, but if you stick with it and diversify your investments, you will begin to see a sizeable growth in your money that just keeps on growing.