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Southern knows a thing or two about saving. Every employee strives to be a wealth builder for everyone; each employee is a walking, talking opportunity center.

At the center of our approach to wealth building is saving. It is our goal to empower 1 million people to save. Promoting saving during America Saves Week (February 24 – 29) is one way we plan to reach our goal.

Similar to our public policy program, America Saves Week uses what is called behavioral economics to help you save. Here’s how it works: You sign the pledge to save and set a goal for yourself, like saving $100 each month for six months to build an emergency fund or save for Christmas presents. Then, America Saves will follow up with tips to help you reach your goal. In this way, participating in America Saves Week “nudges” you towards sustainable, consistent saving behavior.

America Saves Week has six focuses. Each one encourages a different way to save. For instance, you can save automatically on Monday, save for the unexpected on Wednesday, or save as a family on Saturday. Each day gives you plenty of new ideas and opportunities about how to save.

To help you develop that everyday savings habit and keep your savings commitments, Southern’s public policy team is trying to make it easier to save regardless of how, where, or what your goal is.

If you need help figuring out a goal or surveying your finances, Southern offers free financial education via our website. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau also has a program called Start Small, Save Up that can help you make a plan to save.

One tactic we use to empower you to save is changing public policy. In 2019, Southern’s public policy department worked with the Arkansas Legislature to pass a bill that added a line to the tax form.  We’re working on similar legislation in Mississippi this year.

This added line lets you easily split your state income tax refund between two accounts – like a checking and a savings account. Since a tax return is often the largest infusion of cash a family gets, making it easy to save a portion of that can make a huge difference when that auto repair bill or broken water heater rears its ugly head.

Beyond that, Southern Bancorp Community Partners will do your taxes for free through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program (VITA). You can also enter to win rewards just for saving as little as $50 of your tax refund. If you file at a Southern VITA site, you can participate in Split, Save, and Win for a chance to win a $50 weekly prize or a $1000 grand prize. You could also win up to $50 from a scratch-off ticket if you get your taxes done at an Entergy Super Tax Day. Lastly, be sure to enter the Save Your Refund drawing, a national contest sponsored by AARP that has many $100 prizes and a $10,000 grand prize. Despite it being a national contest, fewer than 10,000 people participated last year. Those are good odds.

Southern’s public policy work aims to give you the tools and make it easy to save. Don’t leave saving up to chance. America Saves Week can be the first step on your savings journey. Take the pledge today!