America Saves Blog
Tips, advice, and the latest news from the savings world.
July 25, 2012
by Lila Quintiliani, AFC, Military Saves Assistant Coordinator
New research published by Bankrate.com last week showed that 58% of Americans don’t have three months of emergency savings while a full 28% of Americans have no savings whatsoever. When times are tough and it’s hard to make ends meet, it’s difficult to see the benefits of saving, but the truth is, an emergency fund can be your lifeline, and the only thing between you and financial ruin. I have seen people go in to perpetual credit card debt because they suddenly had to buy a set of tires.
At Military Saves, our mantra is to Start Small, Think Big, and that’s exactly the way you can approach building up your emergency fund, even if you’re living paycheck to paycheck.
Here are some ways to jumpstart your savings:
Find some extra cash. You may think that your bills take up your entire paycheck, but you probably have *something* you can cut back on to put some extra cash in your pocket. Brew coffee at home instead of buying it on the way to work, pack your lunch instead of eating at the food court. Check out a DVD at the library instead of buying it or renting it. Get creative and find ways to cut back. This past week, I changed our cable package to a lower tier of programming and saved us $20 per month.
By Erik Carter, JD, CFP® is a resident financial planner at Financial Finesse, the leading provider of unbiased financial education for employers nationwide, delivered by on-staff CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professionals. For additional financial tips and insights, follow Financial Finesse on Twitter and become a fan on Facebook.
Are you struggling with credit card debt? If so, you’re not alone. Paying off credit cards and other higher interest debt is one of the most common goals that people try to save for. Unfortunately, having to pay off a large amount of debt with ridiculously high interest rates can make you feel hopeless, especially if your budget is already stretched. But it turns out that you don’t necessarily need to make huge sacrifices to become debt free much sooner than you may have thought was possible.
Let’s take a look at an example. Suppose you have 4 credit cards. One has a balance of $1,800 at 19.8%. The second has a balance of 1,500 at 16.99%. The third has a $1,100 balance at 16.7%. The last has a balance of $1,000 at 5.9%. If you just make the minimum payments, it would take over 30 years to pay all that off! Sounds pretty discouraging for someone on a tight budget, huh?
July 20, 2012
By Katie Bryan, America Saves Communication Manager
Saving money can seem like an impossible task to many new savers. About 25% of Americans have no savings at all and simply do not know where to start, or what to save for. The simplest and most effective way to get started is by making a budget, starting small automatic deposits into a savings account, and deciding what you need to start saving for. Opening a savings account is a crucial way to start saving to pay down debt or simply provide money for emergencies. When looking to open a saving account here are 6 things to look for:
1) FDIC/NCUA Insured: Look for a savings account that is safe because it is FDIC or NCUA insured.
2) NO Fees: Shop around for a savings account with no regular fees.
July 19, 2012
By Dylan Tansy, America Saves Intern
When people sign up to become savers with America Saves, one of the first things we ask of people is to set a goal and tell us what it is. Having a concrete tangible goal is one of the best ways to maintain motivation, keep perspective, and measure progress. Roughly one in six people that have committed to start saving with America Saves have chosen “paying off consumer debts” as their top financial goal. This is not surprising as approximately 45% of families earning less than $50,000 a year rely on credit for basic needs. While this figure may be disheartening, the truth is that anyone can work toward becoming debt free. Here are five basic pieces of advice that you need to follow if you are serious about taking control of your money:
- Stop borrowing – The bottom line is that your debt will never go away if you are always adding to it. There may be times when you have no other choice but to rely on credit, but you should avoid a revolving balance. Compounding interest will increase how much you owe in the long run and keep you in debt longer. You need to either cut up your credit cards, or hide them from yourself.
July 18, 2012
By Preston Cochrane, President and CEO, AAA Fair Credit Foundation & Utah Saves
A caregiver is more than just a babysitter for your child. The caregiver will witness some of the earliest developments your child will make. For that reason, choosing childcare can be a difficult decision. Childcare can be one of the largest costs of raising a child. So the choice often comes to finding a balance between what's affordable and what's the optimal setting where your child will be five days a week.
Day Care Centers
Day care centers are a moderately priced option for childcare, but averaging between $400 to $1,000 a month, they are still expensive. You may be lucky enough to be employed by a company that offers day care as part of its benefits package or even onsite services. Churches, schools and community centers often provide lower-priced day care.