America Saves Blog
Tips, advice, and the latest news from the savings world.
I often hear that the hardest part about saving is getting started. That’s why we are going to post ways to Kick Start Your Savings each week on the America Saves Blog. Anyone can take action and start to save today.
The following resources will help you take positive steps towards saving more now:
Inspiration from the Experts
9 ways to save on back to school – From MSN Money
- Take inventory
- Get the school's list
- Go through the ads
- Check prices online
- Buy in bulk and bundles
- Take advantage of tax holidays
- Look off the beaten path
- Make the kids work for extras
- Shop throughout the year
Got Debt? It’s Time for a Reality Check – From AARP.org
- Challenge yourself to start paying off your bills now and work towards being debt-free.
It can be hard to put aside money for savings. But there is an easy way to save money without ever missing it. Make your savings automatic. You can start small and save $20 a week or month or you can try and save more.
How to save automatically
- Many employers allow you to divide your paycheck into different accounts. Take advantage by putting part of your pay into a savings account.
- If you get paid in cash, take a small amount to the bank to deposit into a savings account. Many banks make this easy by allowing you to deposit cash directly at an ATM. Tip: do this the day you get paid. That way you will be less tempted to spend the money.
By Nichole L. Huff, M.S., CFLE, University of Kentucky
If your July was anything like mine, it was H-O-T! With record-breaking temperatures and near-daily heat advisories, finding inexpensive, indoor ways to entertain your kids during the summer months can prove challenging. As a mom of two little ones (four and two), I’ve tried to find economical and fun ways to keep my kids busy on those days when it’s just too hot to go outside.
With most schools out on summer break, it’s important to regularly provide your children with time to draw, color, paint, and create. Give a child a crayon and the possibilities are endless! August is a good time to buy art supplies because many discount retailers are running back-to-school specials. Take advantage of the sales by stocking your home with many simple craft supplies that cost as little as $.25 to $1.00 each! The basics? Crayons, markers, colored pencils, a watercolor paint set, finger paint (look for poster paint, which is usually a few dollars cheaper), safety scissors, glue sticks/school glue, construction paper, a coloring book, and drawing paper. For under $10, you can create an art kit that will keep your kids so entertained they’ll forget they are inside!
To supplement your store-bought supplies, look for items around the house to reuse and repurpose. Save empty toilet paper and paper towel rolls, magazines, empty milk cartons, and soda bottles. Find an old box to house your new art supplies, and let your kids’ first craft be to decorate it! Collect old buttons, ribbons, and fabric. Rinse and save your Popsicle sticks. Got extra cotton balls in the bathroom? Glue them to a piece of construction paper to make clouds (or better yet, let your kids make a winter snow scene on a hot summer day!).
by Jasmith Joseph, Illinois College Student
Being a college student is really hard. Having lots of expenses and a part-time minimum wage job doesn't really help much either. Things got especially tough for me when I broke my phone. I really needed to get another one and I had no choice but to save. I didn't have the over one hundred dollars to spend on the new smart phone I really wanted.
The first thing I decided to do was put aside ten dollars from every paycheck. I quickly discovered that this would take over five months for me to save enough! I needed to devise a better plan. I am great in English so I resolved to help my friends out in English for a small fee and I rented out my books to those who didn't have them. In about three weeks I managed to make $105. I added the $20 I had set aside from my paychecks and I had just enough to get the phone I wanted.
Consumer agencies across the country keep track of consumer complaints. Last week, Consumer Federation of America, the National Association of Consumer Agency Administrators, and the North American Consumer Protection Investigators surveyed 31 agencies from 18 states to determine the top complaints of 2010. As in the previous survey, complaints about credit and debt were second only to auto-related complaints in 2010. But you can avoid complaining about these issues in 2011 by following some simple tips.