A Think Like A Saver Attitude

Melissa has always been thrifty with a #ThinkLikeASaver attitude. This served her family well when her husband lost his job in 2014. Using their savings, Melissa’s family stayed afloat while her husband found a new job. During his job search they used a majority of their savings, but that is OKAY. Savings are fluid! They’re supposed to be used in the case of emergency, and this qualified as such.

Melissa Saver Pic

In 2016 with her husband freshly employed, Melissa was eager to restart her family’s savings journey. Her first step was to start a new savings account. With $100 cash to open the account, she began visiting the banks in her hometown. To her dismay, she was turned away by three banks simply due to a requirement of a $500 balance or direct deposit to open a savings account. This is common practice at commercial banks and often presents a major hurdle for young and lower-income workers. Or, in Melissa’s case, a stay-at-home mom. “I gave up my teaching career after my daughter was born to save on expenses such as daycare, extra medical, etc.”  Direct deposit was not an immediate option because her husband was at work and not there to open the account.

Melissa’s last stop was Garden State Community Bank in Bayville, NJ. This branch participated in America Saves Week in 2016. Always the last week of February, America Saves Week brings together nonprofits, local governments, academic institutions, banks and credit unions to encourage and support effective savings for all Americans. Garden State Community Bank was offering a low-cost savings account as part of its America Saves Week promotion. This was the opportunity Melissa needed.

“After a friendly chat with the branch manager, she was very sorry to inform me of the bank’s policy for opening a new savings account was a minimum of $500 as well.  She saw how defeated I looked and quickly started to think of ways I could save money to get to that $500. Then, she remembered she had just received information on America Saves Week and the bank’s saving incentive. She gave me all the info and helped me fill out the proper forms.  Boom! I had finally started a savings account after so long!” 

Since 2017, Melissa and her family have been saving $250 to $500 a month. They have added two more savings accounts as well. One account is for vacations, one is for the holidays, and the other is a general savings account. Melissa is proud to say, “The last two years our vacations have been fully paid for out of our vacation savings account.  Usually with some money to spare, too!” The family is currently saving for a trip to Washington, D.C.

Melissa’s Saving Tip:

As much as we might want to save all our money, we all have to spend it to survive. Food, soap, shoes, clothes, and toilet paper are necessities. Even cellphones and the internet at home are considered basics in household budgets. So how can we save on the things we need?

Melissa saves by shopping on rebate websites like Rakuten, BeFrugal, and Swagbucks. These websites are commonly called cashback shopping sites. If you shop through a cashback site, they will give back a small percentage (less than 5 percent) of what you spend. The trick is to only buy things you are going to buy anyway. Melissa immediately deposits her rebate checks into a savings account. This way she isn’t tempted to spend her rebates frivolously. 

To learn more about how cashback sites work and how best to take advantage of them look here.

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Tip of the Day

  • Fourth saving strategy: Save automatically through a monthly transfer from checking to savings http://ow.ly/sj3vP

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