Piggy for a personal finance paragon

Jacqueline Byers' salary is in the low $40,000 range, but she budgets, tracks her spending and saves up for what she really loves -- travel.

Jacqueline Byers of Kansas City, Missouri calls herself middle class.

Tess Vigeland: Sixty-six percent of Americans told a recent survey that they have adequate emergency savings. That figure, from the Employee Benefits Research Institute and the Consumer Federation of America, seems applause-worthy, until you find out it's down from about 71 percent in 2010.

So when we find someone with great savings habits, we like to acknowledge them. And one of the folks we spoke with for the Wealth and Poverty coverage fits the bill. Which brings us to this week's Marketplace Money Piggy Award.


Jacqueline Byers: I'm Jacqueline Byers. I live in Kansas City, Mo., and I'm currently employed by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Kansas City. I'm in between $40,000 and $45,000 a year. And for what I do, that's comfortable for me. I don't necessarily have a budget. What I do is keep track of all my spending, and I watch how much I spend in certain areas. And when I see I'm kind of going a little overboard in certain areas, I'll pull back. But as far as the budget, what I've learned to do is just keep track of every dollar that I spend. I have a spreadsheet that shows me where each dollar was spent. I do have my emergency fund, built thanks to a class I'm going through. I've really been mindful of putting that emergency fund money away. I've got my bills and my home and car lined up to where it's all taken care of. Then what's extra goes to the travel account. So that's my splurge money -- that's my mad money to travel and see the world.


Tess Vigeland: Wow, Jacqueline -- a spreadsheet? An emergency fund? Brava. We've popped a prize piggy in the post for you. Hopefully our little blue plastic friend can help you save up for a trip around the world.

About the author

Tess Vigeland is the host of Marketplace Money, where she takes a deep dive into why we do what we do with our money.

Jacqueline Byers of Kansas City, Missouri calls herself middle class.

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