America Saves Blog
Tips, advice, and the latest news from the savings world.
December 1, 2011
By Katie Bryan, America Saves Communications Manager
According to the 12th annual CFA-CUNA Holiday Spending Survey, 37% of people reported that their financial condition was worse this year than a year ago. These findings help explain why 41 percent said they were planning to spend less this year than last year.
Ideas for Keeping Holiday Debt Under Control
- Make Budget, and a List
- Right now, decide how much you can afford to spend and stay within that budget. Staying within budget will be much easier if you make a price list of all gifts and other holiday items you plan to purchase.
- Comparison Shop
- You can easily save more than 10 percent on most items, sometimes considerably more, by comparing prices at different stores. The easiest way to do this is to use the Internet and compare offers online. But when shopping online, shop wisely.
- Pay Off Debts Quickly:
- You’re less likely to overdo it if you pay in cash. If you must make holiday purchases using credit, use a lower-interest card and pay off this debt as soon as possible early next year. Read More.
- See what’s in your supply drawer:
- You may have more wrapping paper, ribbons, unused cards and gift boxes stored away from last season than you realize. Use up those holiday supplies first to trim down the amount you’ll have to buy this season.
- Be Smart About Gift Cards
- Rules that took effect last year significantly restricted gift card expiration dates and fees. But those who give or receive a gift card should still read the fine print. And if you get a gift card, use it sooner rather than later to avoid forgetting about unused balances on the card, or forgetting about the card altogether.
Do you feel your financial condition is worse than a year ago? Let us know on our Facebook page.
November 28, 2011
By Karyn Hodgens
One of the many things I love about kids is their optimism. As parents, we don't want to crush that spirit! Then again, somehow we need to gently let our kids know that while a human tele-porter, for instance, isn't something we can help them build, maybe a pulley system from one side of the room to the other, is. It's about guiding their enthusiasm in a realistic direction.
Consider a recent Schwab 2011 Teens and Money Survey. A full 81 percent of teens aged 16 - 18 plan to choose a career either because they're passionate about the work or they feel it will help them do good for others. And that's great because we want our children to grow up and be happy in their professional lives. Besides, a happy workforce is a productive workforce!
November 21, 2011
By George Barany, Director, Financial Education and Youth Saves
This past Wednesday, President Obama’s Council on Financial Capability held a listening session in Chicago that featured two distinct initiatives of the Young America Saves campaign in Illinois, Young Illinois Saves and three other initiatives led by City Treasurer Stephanie Neely, Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship, and the college access program Ladder Up.
The event at Michelle Clark High School was attended by more than 100 civic and educational leaders including Council Chairmen John Rogers, CEO of Ariel Investments and council member and Beth Kobliner, national financial journalist. These civic and educational leaders had the opportunity to see the peer based program that generates positive savings behavior led by Young Illinois Saves.
November 16, 2011
Kiara Hardin, Illinois College Freshmen
The transition from high school to college has been hard, stressful, fun and exciting. Senior year teachers stress the fact that college is nothing like high school and to be honest it isn’t. The opportunity to be away from family puts a bunch of pressure on time management skills as well as money management skills.
Starting college, I did not have a budget plan so I found myself spending money on things I really did not need. I would go to Wal-mart and buy the expensive brand name food. Also, I would go out or order in instead of using my meal plan. Every college student that resides in a dorm has an id that has preloaded money on it for food so there is no need buy anything besides snacks. I also spent money on movies from the local movie store instead of saving money with a plan like a Netflix account.