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Get Out of Debt

Debt
Written by Super User · 21 May 2011

Getting out of debt is the #3 goal Savers select when they pledge to save. That does not come as a surprise since a 2012 survey showed that 45% of families with annual incomes under $50,000 rely on credit cards to pay for basic needs such as rent, utilities, insurance and food. Large consumer debts can also keep you from saving and building wealth.

The good news is that there is hope. With planning, discipline, patience, and maybe some outside help, almost anyone can reduce their debts and start to accumulate wealth.

Are you in Trouble?

If you answer “yes” to any of the following questions, then you probably need to get your debts under better control:

  1. Can you only afford to make minimum payments on your credit cards?
  2. Do you worry about finding the money to make monthly car payments?
  3. Do you borrow money to pay off old debts?
  4. Have you used a home equity loan to refinance credit card debts, then run up new revolving balances on your cards?

The following pages will help you learn more about debt, how to get out of debt, and where to find help:

  

Five Saving Strategies

Written by Super User · 17 May 2011

1. Save Automatically

Save automatically through a monthly transfer from checking to savings, ideally soon after you are paid. What you don’t see, you probably won’t miss. These savings will provide funds for emergencies, home purchase, school tuition, or even retirement. Almost all banking institutions will, on request, automatically transfer funds monthly from your checking account to a savings account. Learn more about saving automatically.

2. Save for Emergencies

Having an emergency savings account may be the most important difference between those who manage to stay afloat and those who are sinking financially. In fact, low-income families with at least $500 in an emergency fund were better off financially than moderate-income families who saved less for emergencies. Without an emergency savings, you may find the need to turn to high-cost credit cards or payday loans to cover the amount you owe. Borrowing from these types of lenders could make it difficult for you to payback your debt and save successfully. Start with an emergency fund goal of $500. Learn more about saving for emergencies.

3. Pay Off High-Cost Debt

The best investment most borrowers can make is to pay off consumer debt with double-digit interest rates. For example, if you have a $3,000 credit card balance at 19.8 percent, and you pay a minimum balance of 2 percent, it will take 39 years to pay off the loan and cost more than $10,000 in interest charges. Learn more about getting out of debt here. 

4. Save for Retirement

Few people get rich on wages alone. Wealth is built by consistently saving and earning compound interest, or interest on your interest, over many years. Saving now for retirement will ensure that you have enough money to live a comfortable lifestyle when you stop or reduce the amount of hours you work. And the earlier you start the better, ideally in your first job when time is on your side. But saving for retirement is important at any age, and it’s never too late to get started. You may be able to save for retirement through your workplace through a 401(k) plan or you can save on your own by putting money in an Individual Retirement Arrangement (IRA). Learn more about saving for retirement here.

5. Make a Plan

Those with a savings plan are twice as likely to save successfully. That’s where America Saves comes in. We’ll help you reach your savings and debt reduction goals when you make a commitment to yourself to save with the America Saves Pledge. Together, we’ll choose a goal and amount to save monthly. And it doesn’t stop there. We’ll keep you motivated with information, advice, tips, and reminders to help you reach your savings goal. Think of us as your own personal support system.

Take the America Saves Pledge

Newsroom

Written by Super User · 02 May 2011

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Newsletters

Written by Super User · 04 May 2011

Our American Saver Newsletters are packed with inspirational saver stories, articles on ways to reach your financial goals, plus tips and tricks from savers just like you!

Need Adobe Acrobat to read newsletters? Click here for a free version

*New* Volume 16, Issue 3
Volume 16, Issue 2
Volume 16, Issue 1
Volume 15, Issue 4
Volume 15, Issue 3
Volume 15, Issue 2
Volume 15, Issue 1
Volume 14, Issue 3
Volume 14, Issue 2
Volume 14, Issue 1
Volume 13, Issue 4
Volume 13, Issue 3
Volume 13, Issue 2
Volume 13, Issue 1
Volume 12, Issue 2
Volume 12, Issue 1
Volume 11, Issue 2
Volume 11, Issue 1
Volume 10, Issue 1
Volume 9, Issue 4
Volume 9, Issue 3
Volume 9, Issue 2
Volume 9, Issue 1

Volume 8, Issue 4
Volume 8, Issue 3
Volume 8, Issue 2
Volume 8, Issue 1
Volume 7, Issue 3
Volume 7, Issue 2 
Volume 7, Issue 1
Volume 6, Issue 4
Volume 6, Issue 2
Volume 6, Issue 1
Volume 5, Issue 4
Volume 5, Issue 3
Volume 5, Issue 2
Volume 5, Issue 1
Volume 4, Issue 4
Volume 4, Issue 3
Volume 4, Issue 2
Volume 4, Issue 1
Volume 3, Issue 4
Volume 3, Issue 3
Volume 3, Issue 2
Volume 3, Issue 1
Volume 2, Issue 2
Volume 2, Issue 1
Volume 1, Issue 1

In the News

Written by Super User · 02 May 2011

The following are articles that have appeared across the country about America Saves and its local campaigns.

2018

Consumer Affairs - Americans' Savings Rate Drops in April (6/1/2018)
The Penny Hoarder - Need a Reason to Save Your Tax Refund? This Contest Will Pay You $10K (3/19/2018)
New York Times - How Saving Some of Your Tax Refund Could Win You a Cash Prize (3/16/2018)

2017

ConsumerAffairs - An emergency savings fund can start with a modest amount (9/15/2017)
New York Times - Stung by Overdraft Fees? U.S. Nudges Banks to Explain Rules Better (8/11/2017)
Bankrate - It's war! Online banks are battling to offer the best rates on savings accounts (8/11/2017
GoBankingRates - Interesting Facts You Should Know About Your Paycheck (8/1/2017)
The Press Democrat - Santa Rosa mom wins $25,000 — for stashing away some savings (6/19/2017)
New York Times - Steer Clear of This ‘Bad Idea’: Cash Advances on Credit Cards (5/18/2017)
Mic Payoff - What to do with your tax refund: Here's the best way to use that check from the IRS (4/22/2017)
NerdWallet - 9 Smart Ways to Spend Your Tax Refund (3/21/2017)
Motley Fool – 6 Tips to Boost Your Savings (3/18/2017)
New York Times - Ways to Save (and Not Spend) Your Tax Refund (3/17/2017)
Motley Fool – America, It’s Time to Save (3/1/2017)
Huffington Post – America Saves Week: The Future is Now! (2/28/2017)
Tampa Bay Times – Why can’t we save enough money? After decade, surveys warn savings habits still eroding (2/28/2017)
Forbes – These Simple Money Hacks Can Help You Save Hundreds This Week (2/27/2017)
Huffington Post – Make the Most of Your 401(k) this America Saves Week (2/27/2017)
The Baltimore Sun – Financial experts push tax season as prime time to start saving (2/26/2017)

2016

MarketWatch - Does Wal-Mart have the answer to make America save again?
AP - Ask Brianna: Is the 'gig economy' all it's cracked up to be?
TIME - 5 Ways to Make Yourself a Better Retirement Saver (7/20/2016)
CNBC - How to meet your savings goals (4/26/2016)
Public News Service - New Mexico Residents Rank 44th in Personal Savings (2/25/2016)
New York Times - Unexpected, but Not Unusual, Expenses Thwart Efforts to Save (1/9/2016)

2015

New York Times - U.S. Offers Account to Encourage Retirement Saving (11/4/2015)
CNBC - Nearly half of Americans have no savings: Survey (10/6/2015)
Journal-News - Laid low by high debts (9/6/2015)
U.S. News & World Report - Why Our Savings Rate Is Falling, and What to Do About It (7/15/2015)
New York Times - Americans Are Delaying Major Life Events Because of Money Worries (6/26/2015)
Kiplinger - The Value of Summer Jobs for Teens (6/24/2015)
New York Times - Appeal of Savings Bonds Wanes in Ultralow Interest Environment (5/28/2015)
The Kansas City Star - Saving money is no game — or is it? (4/1/2015)
New York Times - Seeing a Tax Refund as a Financial Opportunity (3/31/2015)
TIME - Americans Are Optimistic About the Economy Again (1/23/2015)
amNewYork - 'Save more money!' is a popular resolution: Here's help to make it happen (1/11/2015)

2014

CU Today - 3,500 College Students Take Savings Pledge (11/17/2014)
Inside Tuscon Business - New trend points to Americans saving more - here’s how (10/17/2014)
DepositAccounts - Millennials Just Saying No to Saving (10/12/2014)
MainStreet - Why Aren't More Young Americans Stashing Cash in the Bank? (10/10/2014)
St. Louis Business Journal - Young adults show less interest in saving (10/8/2014)
Marine Corp Times - Consumer Watch: Coalition offers financial tools, resources for vets (7/31/2014)
USA.gov - How to Build a $1,000 Emergency Fund in 10 Months (7/22/2014)
Star Tribune - Boosting savings and slashing debt are key to greater financial independence (7/2/2014)

MarketWatch - JPMorgan Chase & Co. Commits $5 Million to Helping Youth in America Build Strong Foundations for Successful Careers (6/24/2014)
1 in 10 New Yorkers Doesn't Have a Bank Account (6/7/2014)
6 Reasons to Save for Retirement at Your First Job (4/28/2014)
Real Estate Today (Radio) - Buy That House! (3/29/2014)
US News & World Report - 9 Ways to Handle Expiring Unemployment Benefits (2/19/2014)
TIME - Why Your Teens Would Share a Car But Not a Cellphone (1/29/2014)
LifeHealthPro- Personal Savings Dips Among Americans (1/27/2014) 

2013

USA Today - 6 Ways to Avoid a Holiday Spending Hangover (12/8/2013)
AARP Blog
- Young Adults More Interested In Saving Than Other Folks (11/7/2013)
LifeHealthPro - Survey Americans Keen to Save More (11/6/2013)
US News & World Report - The Secret to Saving More (11/5/2013)
Talk Radio News Service - Talk Radio News Service (11/4/2013)
American Banker - Young Americans the Most Interested in Saving: Survey (11/4/2013)
Today Show – Featured in Program (4/5/2013)
Washington Post - Time to Improve Your Financial Knowledge (4/3/2013)

2011

New Haven Register - No Surprise: High Debt=Low Savings (3/15/2011)
Bankrate.com - Card Debt Hinders Savings (3/22/2011)
WiredVC - "Don't bet the farm," warns FDIC, as America Saves* 
Baltimore Sun - America saves -- do you?*
American Public Media / Marketplace - Report: More Americans worried about personal finances (2/22/2011)
Chicago Breaking Business - Recession still causing personal finance headaches (2/22/2011)
Reuters Blog - Savings: 3 ways to beef up your rainy-day fund* 
Star Globe Tribune - Wealth Management: Best Resource on Wealth Building Published (2/22/2011)
Florida Times-Union - How are you saving? (2/17/2011) 

2010

Boston Globe - Automatic savings will prepare you for retirement, not to mention an emergency (Need paid subscription)
Chicago Tribune - Even in tight times, it's possible to start saving
Kiplinger's Personal Finance - 10 ways to trick Yourself Into saving
AOL WallPop - Impulse saving is a practice that everyone should try
AOL WallPop - It's America Saves Week, so why aren't you saving?
Register Citizen - Many without savings account at start of 'America Saves Week'
Kansas City Star -
FDIC Message: Start Saving, America
All Headline News - Banks Urged to Help Americans Save for Future

2009

MSN Money- Want to sleep better? Save $500*
The Washington Times- Americans Fret over Retirement
U.S. News and World Report- Recession-Related Money Worries are Worse than Reality
The Sacramento Bee- Personal Finance: America Saves Week
Humberto Cruz syndicated column - Savings Game
Black Enterprise - 6 ways to save

2008

Allie Johnson- Money and Credit Card Lessons from the Past
ThirdAge News Service- Big Savings Can Start with Small Amounts (Not the correct website)
The New York Times- First, self-control. Then, debt control.
ABC News - Net Gains: When Cutting Out Coffee Isn't Enough
Humberto Cruz syndicated column - Start thinking about savings now
Kathy Kristof syndicated column - No more excuses: simple ways to build your savings
Business Journal - Wachovia rolls out savings seminars
CNNMoney.com - Befuddled by debt? You're not alone
NBC - Half of Households Saving, Survey Finds*
U.S. News and World Report Alpha Consumer Blog - This Week, Celebrate Saving
The Associated Press - Most Americans See Paying Off Mortgage
NPR Marketplace - Reframing Retirement Savings
The Associated Press - Savings Easier When It's Automatic

2007

Baltimore Sun- More Readers' Tips on Building Savings
Foster's Online- Savings Urged During Special Week-Long Effort
Marketplace- Keeping that Rainy Day in Mind
LA Times- Pennies Saved Can Add Up in Your Savings Account
Kiplinger's-20 Small Ways to Save Big
Las Cruces Sun-News- Program Focuses on Saving Strategies*
CNSNews- 'Save Your Money' Campaign Gets A Boost
The Associated Press- Save a Little Now For Nest Egg Later

2006

JumpStart Update- Consumer Federation Offers America Saves*
Hartford Courant- A Financial Plan Can Often Help Dreams Come True*
The Eagle- Consumer Credit: Savings Accounts Make Financial Sense*
MarketWatch- Six-figure savings? Most say 'unlikely'

2005 and earlier

The Journal News- Stretched to the Limit*
Daily Press- Just out of College? There is No Time Like Present to Plan for the Future
Chicago Tribune- Early Advice Big Help
Mercury News - How those who can't save can* 
MSNBC News - Lower Savings Among Hispanics
The Cleveland Plain Dealer - Save Loose Change, Roll into Savings* 
The Anniston Star - Goal: Building Wealth, Not Debt* 
Northwest Florida Daily News - Grow Worth by Saving* 
Northwest Florida Daily News - New Program Will Encourage Residents to Fatten Their Bank Accounts*
The Sun-Sentinel - Over time, small sacrifices have big effect on savings
The Cleveland Plain Dealer - Cleveland Saves People From the Shackles of Debt* 
The Charlotte Observer - Savings program seeking members* 
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel - Financial counselor learned about bad debt the hard way*
The Philadelphia Inquirer - Savings initiative encourages people to set realistic goals* 
Parade Magazine - Build Your Wealth* 
Florida Times-Union - Savings tips to help you 'build wealth'* 
Parade Magazine - Top 10 Money Wasters* 
The New York Times - Lifting Blacks' Faith in the Markets
The Associated Press - Advice: Start Small to Save Money* 
The Cleveland Plain Dealer - Hatching A Nest Egg Plan* 
American Banker - Programs Tout Financial Literacy For All Ages
The Houston Chronicle - Save It* 
Scripps Howard News Service - Since September 11, Savings Rate Rises* 
Washington Post - Living for Today? Quite the Opposite
New York Times - Asking Americans To Build Their Savings
American Banker - Consumer Federation To Promote Savings
Charlotte Observer - Program Helps Get Savers Started* 
The Los Angeles Times/AP - Campaign Aims To Build Wealth*
Reuters - Black Americans' Wealth Increases, But Still Lags*

By Campaign:

America Saves

Arizona Saves, AZ

Arkansas Saves, AR

Calhoun Co. Saves, AL

California Saves, CA

Champaign County Saves, IL

Charles County Saves, MD

Charlotte Saves, NC

Clark County Saves, WI

Cleveland Saves, OH

Colorado Saves, CO

Columbus Saves, GA

Des Moines Saves, IA

DC Saves, DC

El Paso Saves, TX

First State Saves, DE

Gadsden Saves, FL

Georgia Saves, GA

Hancock County Saves, OH

Indy Saves, IL

Jacksonville Saves, FL

Jefferson County Saves, AL

Kansas City Saves, MO

Kansas State Saves, KS

Kentucky Saves, KY

LA Saves, CA

Langley Saves, VA

Louisiana Saves, LA

Louisville Saves, KY

Maryland Saves, MD

Miami Valley Saves, OH

Military Saves

Milwaukee Saves, WI

New Jersey Saves, NJ

North Carolina Saves, NC

Northwoods Saves, WI

Ohio Valley Saves, WV

Okaloosa Saves, FL

Pierce County Saves, WA

Peninsula Saves, VA

Pennsylvania Saves, PA

Philadelphia Saves, PA

Pittsburgh Saves, PA

San Diego, CA

South Dakota Saves, SD

SV/SB Saves , CA

Tampa Saves, FL

Tennessee Saves, TN

Texas Saves, TX

Virginia Tech Saves, VA

Utah Saves, UT

Utah State Saves, UT

York County Saves, MD

Arizona Saves

07/02/08 - The Arizona Republic – Savings plans can ease financial pressures
10/01/07 - Cronkite News- Residents face immense challenges to saving
04/24/05 - The Arizona Republic- No Time Like Present: Ready, Set, Save Money*
09/15/03 - East Valley Tribune - Arizona Saves helps families keep more income

Arkansas Saves

01/09/09 - University of Arkansas- Show me the Money!*

Calhoun County Saves

09/22/03 - The Anniston Star - Goal: Building Wealth, Not Debt

California Saves

04/01/09 - Ventura County Star- Californians urged to save, become financially literate

Champaign County Saves

02/12/09 - Steve Ayers- Financial Education is Focus of America Saves Week

Charles County Saves 

1/10/2014 - Southern Maryland News Net - Commissioners Proclaim Charles County Saves Week 

Charlotte Saves

02/24/08 - The Charlotte Observer - Habits Save Her from Stress of Debt*
10/06/06- The Charlotte Observer- Free Financial Advice*
06/11/03 - The Charlotte Observer - Savings program seeking members*

Clark County Saves

01/14/05- Marshfield News Herald- Bankers Offer Advice on Saving Money*

Cleveland Saves

4/16/2013 - Struggling with saving? America Saves will text you tips: Plain Dealing 
07/07/08 - SBLI USA- Sock Away Cash for Emergencies
07/13/04 - USA Today -
Building Wealth, Not Debt 
05/09/04 - Cleveland -
Greater Clevelanders learn to save virtually painlessly with free help* 
10/15/03 - The Cleveland Plain Dealer -
Save Loose Change, Roll into Savings* 
08/28/03 - The Cleveland Plain Dealer -
Cleveland Saves People From the Shackles of Debt* 
05/21/02 - The Cleveland Plain Dealer -
Cleveland Pioneers in Savings Education* 
03/06/01 - The Cleveland Plain Dealer -
Program Aims To Hook Greater Cleveland On Saving*

El Paso Saves

03/17/04 - El Paso Times - El Pasoans urged to build cash nest egg*
11/17/03 - Scripps Howard News Service - Savings Program Hopes to Reach Hispanics

First State Saves

03/11/08 - Univeristy of Delaware Daily- Professor O'Neill receives Star Saver Award
01/30/08
- Delaware Online - Delawareans urged to save their money*

Gadsden Saves

08/16/02 - Tallahassee Democrat - Gadsden County, Fla., Kicks Off Consumer Savings Program*
04/27/02 - Tallahassee Democrat - Gadsden Is Following Advice On Savings*
07/17/01 - Tallahassee Democrat - Gadsden Will Learn the Value Of Saving*

Georgia Saves

05/02/03 - Ledger-Enquirer - Columbus Saves program urges people to save and reduce debt*
01/26/03 - Savannah Now - Building stairways to wealth
12/02/02 - The Business Report - Georgia Saves Recruits Employers In Drive To Increase Savings

Indianapolis Saves

10/08/02 - The Indianapolis Star- New IndySaves Coordinator Has Passion for Job

Kansas City Saves

02/28/09 - The Morning Sun- Small Change: Every Amount Helps
02/26/07 - The Kansas City Star- Americans' Savings for Emergencies Falling Short
07/17/01 - Kansas City Star -A Little Change Makes Big Difference

Maryland Saves

03/01/07 -The Examiner-'Maryland Saves Week' Off and Running

Military Saves

04/01/09 - U.S. Army- 'Military Saves' encourages Soldiers to build nest egg
03/05/09 - The Dolphin- Filling Piggy Banks
02/28/07 - Navy News Stand- Service Members Learn About Saving and Investing

Milwaukee Saves

05/01/06 - Greater Milwaukee Today - Finding Hidden Money
05/07/03 - Milwaukee Journal Sentinel - Financial counselor learned about bad debt the hard way

New Jersey Saves

02/15/09 - NJ Herald- "America Saves Week" Can Start Financial Stability
02/22/07 - Sparta Independent- New Jersey Saves Week Encourages Savings to Build Wealth

North Carolina Saves

09/27/05 - Winston Salem Journal- Encouraging North Carolinians to Save for Their Futures

Northwoods Saves

04/24/02 - Rhinelander Daily News - Northwoods Saves Gets People On The Saving Track

Okaloosa Saves

06/07/07 - Northwest Florida Daily News - Working to Build a Nest Egg
02/18/07 - Northwest Florida Daily News - A Nation of Debt
09/18/03 - Northwest Florida Daily News - Grow Worth by Saving
09/14/03 - Northwest Florida Daily News - New Program Will Encourage Residents to Fatten Their Bank Accounts
09/01/02 - Northwest Florida Daily News - Okaloosa Saves Plans to Make Savers Out of County Full of Spenders

Pierce County Saves

02/26/08 - Department of Retirement Services - America and Washington Saves
02/20/08 - Washington State Department - Governer Gregoire proclaims Washington Saves Week
02/20/09 - Washington State Department - Build wealth, not debt, during Washington Saves Week

Philadelphia Saves

10/01/04 - The Philadelphia Inquirer - Teaching bling-bling starts with save-save
04/23/03 - The Philadelphia Inquirer - Savings initiative encourages people to set realistic goals
06/04/02 - The Philadelphia Tribune - Campaign attacks 'financial illiteracy'
05/15/02 - The Philadelphia Inquirer - New Programs Target People On Financial Fringe

San Diego Saves

03/20/05 - The San Diego Union Tribune- Low-Income Residents Get Free Tax Aid
04/15/04 - San Jose Mercury News - Valley Group Wants To Get Low-Income Residents Saving

Tennessee Saves

02/28/08 - The University Echo- Debt rises among young population
02/13/08 - Town Talk - Local Tennessee Savers
02/10/08 - Cleveland Banner - Polk 4-H Clubs
01/23/04 - Tennessean.com - Building Financial Sense is Aim of Program

Texas Saves

04/16/06 - Dallas Morning News - Financial Lessons Haven't Sunk in Yet

Virginia Tech Saves

02/24/09 - Collegiate Times- Organization Hopes to get Hokies into Saving

Utah Saves

02/24/09 - BYU NewsNet - Learn How to Secure Your Financial Future
01/22/06 - Deseret Morning News - Boost Bottom Line with Utah Saves
02/06/06 - KSL Editorials - Utah Saves
02/02/06 - Deseret Morning News - Dial 2-1-1 for free help with taxes
01/28/06 - The Salt Lake Tribune - Mediocre markets turn off investors
01/06/06 - Weber Sentinel News - Build wealth with Utah Saves
01/01/06 - The Salt Lake Tribune - Business Insight
11/17/05 - Deseret News - Program aims to help Utahns save

West Virginia Saves

Wheeling Intelligencer - Helping save W. VA's future

Ohio Saves

12/5/2013 - Extension Connection - OSU Extension and Ohio Sea Grant Help Toledo-area Business Association Create Business Retention and Expansion Plan
09/27/2013 - Vinton Daily - Ohio Saves a Helpful Tool in Saving Money

Tip of the Day

  • Written by Administrator2 | March 19, 2014

    Having emergency savings may be the most important way to stay afloat financially http://ow.ly/r6i1n

Saver Stories View all »

Taking Steps Toward Financial Fitness

Written by Tammy G. Bruzon | November 7, 2014

Nicky Vasquez learned about Virginia Saves when she attended her first class with Bank On Virginia Beach. The instructor shared how important it was to have a written savings goal, and the entire class joined Virginia Saves as the first step toward financial fitness.

Read more...

The Gift of Homeownership

Written by Tammy G. Bruzon | August 5, 2015

Quaneka Willis, a single mother of three children, was receiving rental assistance through the Housing Authority of the City of Milwaukee when she decided to take control of her finances. So, in September of 2013 she attended the Make Your Money Talk program and pledged as a Wisconsin Saver. In less than 12 months, she had maximized her savings and was beginning the process of purchasing her first home.

Read more...

Challenging Herself to Save

Written by Sara Cooper | April 15, 2014

It all started when Marchale Burton overheard Alabama cooperative extension colleague Isaac Chappelle, coordinator of Alabama Saves, explaining how saving just a little bit – even change – is all it takes to become a saver. “I thought about that,” Burton said, “and wanted to see if it would work.” So, she challenged herself to see how much change she could save.

Read more...