America Saves Blog
Tips, advice, and the latest news from the savings world.
June 15, 2012
by Lila Quintiliani, AFC ®
Military Saves Assistant Coordinator
One of my biggest financial mistakes came early on in my marriage. My husband and I fell madly in love…with a large, extended cab pickup truck. But the honeymoon was over when the car payments started. After just a few months, there was a trickle down effect – because we were struggling to make the payments, we weren’t able to pay off our credit card fully each month. We ended up carrying a balance on our card, and that balance got bigger and bigger. After a couple of years of this, we finally realized we had to stop hemorrhaging money and we sold our truck and got a used SUV. Eventually we paid off our credit card debt. But we were so scarred by the experience that we now do our darnedest not to have a car payment. And when we do have to take out an auto loan, we make paying it off one of our first priorities.
I have seen plenty of people struggling with huge car payments. Several times I have counseled service members who had TWO car payments totaling nearly half (or more!) of their monthly take home pay. Here are some tips for saving for your next vehicle so you won’t be crippled by your auto loan:
June 14, 2012
Union Bank, N.A.
Senior Vice President and Regional Manager
Summer road trips remind us that it may be time for a vehicle tune up. Just like regular maintenance prevents damage to your vehicle and helps ensure a smoother and safer ride, regular financial tune ups can help keep you on the road to financial security and stability.
Following are some tips to help you keep your finances in good working order:
Review Important Financial Documents
Pull copies of your will and/or living trust, insurance policies and other important documents and review them to make sure they are up to date. Obtain a copy of your credit report and have errors corrected. To get a free credit report from each of the three major credit-reporting bureaus, go to annualcreditreport.com.
Seek Lower Interest Rates
If you carry a balance on your credit cards, call your credit card company and ask for a lower interest rate, or seek alternatives elsewhere. If you notice that mortgage rates have dropped two or more points lower than what you are paying, you might consider refinancing your home mortgage at a lower interest rate. Take into consideration fees or pre-payment clauses that may apply, and if you’re thinking of selling your home in the next three to five years, the amount you save on refinancing may not cover the closing costs.
June 13, 2012
Since it nearly always takes a long time to save a lot of money, I often suggest the Weight Watchers® approach. For the skinny folks among you, Weight Watchers is a weight loss program that uses peer support and life style changes to achieve a long term objective. And saving $1,000 dollars is a lot like losing twenty pounds—it is a big task and it takes a while to see the rewards!
You begin the process with peers. Find some workmates or classmates who also lust after some substantial item (that should be easy). Everyone doesn’t have to want the same item or need to save the same amount. A flat screen television and a week in Hawaii are all the same to a savings account. Everyone starts with a 3x5 card that has the date they started and the financial goal they hope to reach.
America Saves members commit to save nearly $35,000,000
Washington, D.C. (June 12, 2012) – Today, America Saves, a national social marketing campaign that encourages individuals and families to save money and build personal wealth, announced that 300,000 people have made a personal commitment to save by joining America Saves. America Saves helps individuals and families take charge of their financial future by having individuals set a savings goal and make a plan to save towards that goal. America Saves members have committed to save $34,880,019.08 over the past 12 years. The top five America Saves saver goals during that period are: an emergency fund, education, debt repayment, investment savings, and homeownership.
“Twelve years ago we set out to help people save more successfully. I am thrilled that in that time we have been able to help over a quarter of a million people make a plan to reach their savings goals,” said Nancy Register, national director of America Saves. “From paying down debt to saving for emergencies, we know that people, regardless of income level, have the ability to save.”
The 2012 national survey assessing household saving from America Saves found that having a savings plan with specific goals can have beneficial financial effects, even for lower-income families. The survey also revealed that two-thirds of Americans (66%) spend less than their income and save the difference, and two-thirds (66%) have sufficient emergency saving to pay for unexpected expenses like car repairs or a doctor's visit.
“While we are encouraged by the number of people who have made a commitment to save to date, we know that there is more to be done to make sure that every person has sufficient emergency savings and a plan to build wealth,” added Register. “And we at America Saves are committed to continue to help people achieve their savings goals.”
June 7, 2012
Over the next five weeks, the America Saves blog will feature articles and guest blogs on the topic of saving for a large purchase. America Saves, along with our 52 local campaigns will be featuring information on saving for both short-term and long-term large purchases.
Traditionally when we think about saving for a large purchase we think about saving for a car or a home. But there are other short-term and life event purchases that could also fall into this category. For example, saving for a new computer, a vacation, or a wedding could all fall into the large purchase category.
You can look forward to blog topics from Americas Saves on saving for a car, a home, a ring, and a wedding. And guest blogs on tips for savings for a large purchase, saving for college, and saving for a baby.
If you would like to join the conversation about saving for a large purchase, download our latest resource packet. The resource packet contains:
- A sample article
- Social media content
- Tools and resources