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How I Learned to Budget in D.C.

Written by Super User · 12 March 2012

March 12, 2012
By Kristina Wedseltoft, America Saves Intern

Moving from California to Washington D.C. for 3 months was a drastic change in it itself, but learning how to budget my money effectively was an entirely different kind of change. In San Diego I had a job working at our school bookstore and for the most part didn’t really concern myself with creating or following a budget. But once I came to D.C. my only source of income was going to be the money my mom gave me on the first of each month. Before I left California I decided to create a budget that I thought would be perfect. But it wasn’t until I was here in D.C. that I figured out my spending habits had to change.

Only being here for a short period of time, I figured it would be easy. For the first couple of weeks I tracked everything I spent from each Starbucks coffee to grocery shopping. I quickly realized that I needed some help, so the first things I looked into was utilizing some budgeting applications that I could keep with me at all times on my iPhone. But even though I created a budget, I found that the quickest way to learn how to save money was from my mistakes.

There is an easily accessible ATM in the lobby of our building, that’s what I thought until I learned firsthand about all the charges that come with the “convenience factor”. I definitely learned the hard way, because after falling for the ATM trap, I ended up with $6 in fees. Not only did the ATM charge me a fee, but so did my bank! Many people, including those I’m living with, tend to ignore these fees that can be easily avoided and could be saving about $150 a year! Instead of using an ATM that may charge you a fee, try locating the closest ATM of you bank, it could be just around the corner. Also many stores today offer a ‘cash back’ option, so if you’re desperate with no ATM, pick up a pack of gum or mints and take out cash that way.

Saving at Tax Time

Tax Time Saving
Written by Super User · 02 February 2012

Each tax season, households making less than $52,000 claim $100 billion in federal tax refunds. If you're like us, that tax refund is the largest check you will receive all year. This windfall provides the perfect opportunity to start or grow an emergency fund, college fund, save for a large purchase or whatever your savings goal is. Many people view tax refunds as unplanned bonuses. They see the money as a gift from the government, to use for splurges or treats, but a tax refund provides the opportunity to improve your financial situation.

Your hard-earned tax refund is a great opportunity to build up your savings and have the chance to win cash prizes through Save Your Refund.

Commit to save a portion of your tax refund and share your savings goal with us and you could win one of 102 prizes up to $10,000. But you can't win unless you save, so make a commitment to yourself today. By making this commitment early, you'll be much more likely to save later. Enter Save Your Refund now.

Tips to Get the Most Value from Your Tax Refund

  • Pay down your debt. Use your refund for some much needed debt relief. Pay off your credit card balance. If you have an outstanding balance on more than one credit card, try to pay off the smaller, high-interest rate balances first. That will free up more funds to put toward larger balances. Alternatively, you can apply your refund toward other debts, like a car loan or a home equity loan.
  • Save for a rainy day. Why not give yourself an even bigger return on your tax refund by putting the money into a savings account, CD, retirement fund, or purchasing a tax time savings bond? Your tax refund will continue to grow if you put it into savings or invest the money. It's always helpful to have a savings account to draw from when a major car repair bill, medical emergency or other unexpected expense comes along. That way, you don't have to borrow money and add to your debt-load.
  • Consider your financial goals. Trying to save for a house or car down payment? Hope to contribute to your child's college tuition? Consider applying your tax refund toward these goals. If you don't yet have a set of short-term and long-term financial goals, put one together. You'll be more conscientious about how you spend your refund or any other extra money that comes your way.

Remember, you work hard for your money and you deserve to enjoy a healthy financial lifestyle. Put some thought into how you use your tax refund. Making smart financial decisions is not always easy, but it will definitely benefit you and your family over the long term.

ENTER SAVE YOUR REFUND NOW

 

Car Buying Resources

Car
Written by Super User · 26 July 2011

Bilingual Car Purchasing Materials

The following Hispanic America Saves materials provide advice, in English and Spanish, on whether and how to purchase a car. Use the brochure, poster and flyer to educate buyers on saving for a down payment, shopping around for a loan, and researching prices on new and used cars.

  1. Brochure
  2. Flyer
  3. Poster

Videos


More car buying resources:

 

Take the Pledge

Written by Administrator2 · 02 January 2012

Organize a Local Campaign

Written by Super User · 25 July 2011

 

If you are interested in organizing a community campaign, we are eager to help. America Saves supports affiliated campaigns with a significant amount of resources, materials and technical assistance, including a support structure for both campaigns and individual savers.

Reach out to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. (202-939-1015), who is always ready to discuss your plans, answer any questions, and work with you to help develop your campaign. If Lindsay isn’t available, just ask to speak to any of us at America Saves.

We look forward to hearing from you!

 

 

Tip of the Day

  • Written by Administrator2 | January 14, 2014

    To minimize interest charges, limit credit card purchases to those you can pay off in full at the end of the month. In the end you'll have more for emergency savings. http://ow.ly/FJyVP

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