America Saves week (February 24-March 1, 2014) is an annual event promoting good savings behavior and a chance for individuals to assess their own saving status.
Although the week focuses on saving, it’s a good reminder for you to take a long hard look at your financial plan (or lack of) and determine a game plan for you or your family.
According to a recent survey by America Saves, most Americans still face savings challenges. Only 35 percent of respondents were making “good” or ‘excellent” progress in their savings goals. That means two in three adults are making no progress or “fair” progress in their savings needs. Come on people…we need to switch those around!
Saving money is essential for your financial health. You can’t pay down debt if you don’t have any money left over at the end of the month. You can’t build up a solid cushion of money if you are constantly trying to manage your bills. It’s like the hamster in the little hamster wheel…spinning around but not going anywhere.
Start with this post: 54 Ways to Save Money. Surely you can find something you can do…there’s more than 50 tips!
Here’s two of our favorites:
- Reduce credit card debt by $1,000. That $1,000 debt reduction will probably save you $150-200 a year, and much more if you’re paying penalty rates of 20-30%. (Read more about credit card debt and the amount of money people throw away on interest fees)
- Take the amount the item costs and divide it into your hourly wage. If it’s a $50 pair of shoes and you make $10 an hour, ask yourself, are those shoes really worth five long hours of work? It helps keep things in perspective. Maybe retail stores should start putting that information on price tags?
Credit unions are another good place to start. Many have financial counselors at your beck and call, who can put you in the driver’s seat of a good financial plan, and definitely not one that will have you running in circles. Credit unions focus on financial literacy and people, not making money. As not-for-profit organizations, any profit they make goes back to the people who use the credit union. Here is more information about credit unions.
In the meantime, stay tuned because we’ll be unveiling our participants next week.