America Saves Blog

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Tips, advice, and the latest news from the savings world.

What’s Your Saving Story?

Written by Super User · 14 October 2011

October 14, 2011

By Katie Bryan, America Saves Communications Manager

Has America Saves inspired you to get out of debt or save more? We are looking for stories from you about how you have gotten out of debt or saved for items like and emergency fund or a home. Many times people feel like they can’t save. By sharing your stories, you can help us inspire others to take financial action.

Send us your story so that we can share it on our blog and with our Facebook and Twitter communities.

We are also always looking for your tips. If we choose your tip for our quarterly newsletter, we will send you a check for $25 – the initial purchase price of a $50 EE Savings Bond – and an application for a $50 EE Savings Bond.

Email your tips and stories to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Keeping Track of What You Spend and Budgeting

Budgeting
Written by Katie Bryan · 12 October 2011

receiptsDo you know exactly where all of your money goes each month? Do you know how much money you have left to spend this month? Are you saving towards an emergency fund each month? If you answered -NO - to any of these it may be time to get your finances in order.

The first step to saving more efficiently is to keep track of what you spend and budget. There are many different ways to do this, try a few out and choose the system that works best for you. The key to saving more successfully is to find a system that works for you and to stick with it.

Step One: Keep Track of What you Spend

There are many ways to keep track of what you spend. Growing up, I watched my dad put every receipt into a drawer. At the end of the month he would total up the recipes and items from his check book in order to track his spending for the month. Today, we pay for the items we need in many different ways - we spend cash, credit, debit, and we even auto-pay bills. It’s important to have a system in place to capture all this spending.

Luckily, there are digital tools to help you keep track of your spending.  Look for free tools that will group all your spending in one place. (Let us know on our Facebook page how you keep track of your spending) Take a look at a couple months of spending. Total up everything you spent and divide your spending into large categories –housing, food, utilities, entertainment, shopping, savings, and everything else. Click here for a sample budget worksheet.

Step Two: Budget

Now you know where your money is actually going. But is it going where it should? Create a budget that you can stick to. Look at places you can cut back in order to pay down high-interest debt and save. Not sure where your money should be going? Try one of these online calculators:

Ideal Budget – CNN Money

Budgeting Calculator – you can deal with it

Step Three: Stick to your Budget

Putting together a budget is easy; The harder part is sticking to it. The key to this is to go back to step one and keep track of your spending. Each week, check your finances to make sure you are staying within your budget. You can do this by using a cash, or envelope system. You can also keep track with a software program, or you can simply use pen and paper to keep track of your spending.

No matter how you do it, it’s important to find a system that works for you and stick to it.

We would love to hear the system you use to budget and track your spending each month. Let us know on our Facebook page.

Saving Money at Work

Written by Super User · 07 October 2011

October 7, 2011

Guest post for Mainstream Mom

Last week, America Saves, along with the Department of Labor, held a webinar for those new to the work force. The webinar stressed that the best way to save for first time earners is through your employer. But whether you are new to the work force or not, you may be missing a valuable, easy, and automatic way to save.

Did you know?

  • Over one-third of all eligible employees do not participate —at all— in their company’s retirement savings plan.
  • More than 90% of those who do participate fail to take full advantage of the legal maximum contribution limits.

Participate in a Work Retirement Plan

Many workplaces offer retirement plans to employees. This is a simple way to save because money automatically gets transferred to your retirement account before you get paid. Decide how much you want to contribute each month and your work is done.

Read More...

Ditch the Car to Save Money and Improve Your Health

Written by Super User · 06 October 2011

October 6, 2011

By Katie Bryan, America Saves Communications Manager

BikeA trend has emerged where more people are moving to the cities. Everyone from young professionals looking for job opportunities to empty nesters looks to downsize their space. In fact over half of the world lives in a city. I know personally that in Washington, DC that means more expensive living costs. One great way that I and others are saving money is by ditching the car and relying on walking, biking, and public transportation.

Walking

Google maps shows that it should take about 30 minutes to walk two miles. If you’re fortunate enough to be that close to work, walking is a great option. Walking improves your health, trims your waistline, and can even improve your mood. It’s something everyone knows how to do and it’s free! It can also help you take less sick days and may even save you money on medicines by preventing illness.

iPhone Leads to Saving Success

Written by Super User · 29 September 2011

September 29, 2011

By Charlie Tiseo, Money Smart Kid Chicago 2011

CharlieBeing a twelve-year-old kid I don’t really have the opportunity to get a job, but for me there are some ways to earn money such as allowance or gifts. I make a habit of only spending some of this money, not all of it. The more money I put into my savings account or piggy bank the faster I will reach my savings goal of, let’s say, buying a phone - and that’s how the story starts.

A couple of years ago I was doing lots and lots of chores to save up for an iPhone. At the time, an iPhone cost $100 and I only had $35. After about two months, I had made $80. It was getting close to my birthday and all I needed was a bit of extra cash. That bit of cash was enough to get my phone, and I was super excited. I couldn’t sit down on the way home, not only because I had an iPhone but also because I worked hard to get it.

Take the Pledge

Savers who make a plan are twice as likely to save successfully. 

Take the America Saves Pledge

Tip of the Day

  • Written by Administrator2 | January 12, 2014

    Keep track of your spending. At least once a month, use credit card, checking, and other records to review what you've purchased. Then, ask yourself if it makes sense to reallocate some of this spending to an emergency savings account. http://ow.ly/sj972

Saver Tips and Stories View all »

Put 20 Percent Away

Written by Lindsay Ferguson | July 8, 2019

“I am a single mother, and I make ends meet for me and my daughter, but I wanted to put money away for my daughter for a college fund. So I started saving 20 percent of my paycheck every month to put it away in a savings account with a high Annual Percentage Yield (APY). By the time my daughter is 18, I will have saved nearly $90,000.”

Read more...

Taking Back Control Over Finances

Written by Virginia Saves | August 5, 2015

After becoming a Virginia Saver and getting help from BankOn classes and coaching, Nadine Bialo took back control over her financial affairs.

Read more...

Jump-Starting a Financial Makeover

Written by Katie Bryan | October 28, 2013

Nichelle Johnson, a single mom with two teenage children, knows what it’s like to stretch a dollar. When she moved back to Virginia Beach in 2008, she provided for her family with just a part-time library position.

Read more...

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Take the Pledge

Written by Super User | September 16, 2013

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Written by Tammy G. Bruzon | July 15, 2014

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Partner News & Updates

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