First, the good news: the typical American family has $3,800 in the bank. Now, the bad news: one in four Americans has no savings at all. If you fall into the last group, here are eight reasons why you should put your first dollar into a savings account today.

1. You want to earn interest.

If you have been stashing dollar bills under a mattress, they are likely worth less now than when you first held them in your hands. A personal savings account, money market account or certificate of deposit can help you keep pace with inflation and grow your nest egg without any personal involvement.

2. You want to stay out of debt.

When you are already on a tight budget and get an unexpected bill, the last thing you want to do is charge more to your credit cards. By pulling money out of savings, you cut out the high interest charges and stay on track to pay off your debt.

3. You need overdraft protection.

At many banks, you can avoid insufficient funds fees by linking your checking and savings accounts and setting up overdraft protection. If you spend more than you have available in your main account, the bank dips into your backup savings account. Your bill payments and debit card transactions go through without any bank rejection.

4. You need an emergency safety net.

When you get sick or lose your job, you suddenly have no income to make your car payment. You can’t afford school clothes for the kids. You have to avoid the landlord because you have no money for rent. Although experts recommend holding at least six months of salary in an emergency fund, any amount of savings can help keep life going during a crisis.

5. You need some financial peace of mind.

Savings accounts may not be lucrative investments, but they can guard your money until the time you need it. Most major banks guarantee your deposits up to $250,000. Instead of waiting for someone to rob your cookie jar, you can tuck the dollars into an interest-bearing account.

6. You want your kids to live better than you.

Setting up a savings account now can help teach your children good personal finance habits before they enter the same earn/spend cycle. You can act as a good role model by controlling your expenses and putting aside a little bit of money each week for a rainy day.

7. You want to curb your spending.

If you like to use up every dime in your checking account, open a separate savings account to limit the shopping trips. You can change your direct deposit at work so part of your paycheck goes directly into a high-yield savings account. You will still have access to fun money in your checking account, but you will be less likely to spend the cash sitting in savings.

8. You want to save for the future.

You only have so long to save for major events like weddings, home purchases, college tuition and retirement. For each day that you procrastinate, the goal becomes that much harder to reach. Establishing a savings account with direct deposit or auto-debit lets you move a set dollar amount into savings each month without any hassle.

Every American should have a savings account. No matter how much money you drop in, whether $100 or $100,000, you are sure to get back something much greater in return.