Month: February 2017

Teaching Your Children To Save

 Good savings habits start at home. Whether you’re budgeting, saving, making retirement decisions, or assessing work-place benefits, share the choices you make with your children, no matter their age. Teaching Your Children To Save is not hard, it's rather fun. It sets the foundation for future wealth building habits.

Tuesday, February 28: Family Savings Day

  • Good savings habits start at home. Whether you’re budgeting, saving, making retirement decisions, or assessing work-place benefits, share the choices you make with your children, no matter their age.

Saving money is one of the most important aspects of building wealth and having a secure financial foundation.  Yet many of us have learned the importance of saving money through trial and error, and more importantly, experience. In school, we aren’t really taught about the importance of saving and many of us find that as adults, we have to fend for ourselves. But there are ways to empower the next generation, and that starts by teaching children the importance of saving from a young age.  If you are a parent, in keeping with the America Saves Week theme of the day, family savings day, here are a few ways to teach your children about saving money.

START WITH A PIGGY BANK

A piggy bank can be a great way to teach your kids the importance of saving while giving them an easy way to do it.  Tell your kids that the goal is to fill up the piggy bank with dollars and coins until there is no room.  Illustrate that the piggy bank is for saving money for the future and that the more they save, the more their money will grow.

OPEN  A BANK ACCOUNT

Once the piggy bank is full, take your child to the bank to open a savings account for them.  Have them count how much money is going to be deposited, so they can have a physical understanding of how much money they have.  Show them the final number and reinforce the idea of interest.

It can provide a great source of motivation for your kids if they understand that their money will grow over time as long as they don’t touch it.  A great example of compound interest is to show how doubling a penny once every day for 30 days will eventually generate $10 million dollars!

USE SAVINGS JARS

When your kids really want the latest and greatest toy or a new action figure, let them know they will have to save for it.  Give them a jar for each of their desired purchases and offer them a small allowance each week in a denomination that encourages savings.

For example, if you give your child five dollars a week, give it to them in one dollar bills.  They can save all their cash for one purchase, or they can contribute to different “jars” for various savings goals.

To encourage saving for their short-term goals, put a picture of their desired toy or item on the jar, so they have a visual reminder of what they are working towards.

CREATE A TIMELINE

As a child, the concepts of money and time can be hard to grasp. Research has shown that the impact of a one-hour financial lesson wears off after about five months. In order to make the message stick, money education should be timely and ongoing.  If you know your child receives a $50 check for their birthday each year, the moment to talk about budgeting is right before receiving that check.

One way to keep money lessons ongoing is to create a timeline so that your child can visualize when they will reach their goal.

Let’s say you give them five dollars a week and they want to save fifty dollars.  If they saved one hundred percent of their allowance, they’d reach their goal in ten weeks, or roughly three months.

Start by getting a long piece of paper and a marker.  Have $0 on one side and $50 (or whatever goal amount) on the other side.  Create checkpoints on the paper for when they reach 25%, 50% and 75% of their goal.

Every time an amount is saved, draw a line illustrating how much was saved.  Let your kids know that they will get small rewards at each checkpoint. Small rewards can encourage kids to keep going.  Visuals are also helpful in illustrating their savings goals and how their money is growing.

LEAD BY EXAMPLE

Children learn by example, so the best way to teach your child about saving money is to save money yourself.  Have your own jar of money that you put funds in regularly.  When you’re out shopping, show your children how to discern between various prices and explain why buying one item makes better sense than another.

Reiterate the message that every time you get paid, you save a portion of your check to help prepare for the future.

START A CONVERSATION

One of the most important things you can do is to start a conversation about money and the importance of saving. Money doesn’t have to be scary or a taboo subject. Use financial discussions as teachable moments. An innocent question such as “Are we rich?” can be answered in a way that emphasizes family values, such as hard work and responsible spending.

Let your children know they can have an allowance, but it’s up to them to save up for things they really want.  In addition, illustrate how much their money can grow over time if they save.

Also, discuss the difference between needs and wants and tell your children you are always open to talking about money and new ways to save.  Ask them about what they want to save for.  Ask them what they want their future to look like.

Asking good questions can get them to think long-term and have a positive relationship with money.  Letting them know you’re always open to having a conversation about money can encourage them to ask questions of their own to keep learning.  You can find an age appropriate guide here, for teaching your children about money.

Teaching kids how to save money may seem like a tough task.  It has even been said that parents are more likely to talk to their children about sex than about money.  But using these tips, you can make your child’s understanding of money fun and accessible.  It’s an investment in knowledge which truly pays the best interest.

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How to Create an Automatic Savings Plan

Do you have a savings account, yet find it difficult to find money to deposit into it? Do you have the best of intentions every month, but find you don't have enough left over after you pay your bills to pay yourself in the form of savings? In the word's of Michael Jackson, "You are not alone." Here are a few tips to help you make savings automatci

 

 

Today is the first day if America Saves Week. Today’s theme is: Save automatically.  Do you have a savings account, yet find it difficult to find money to deposit into it? Do you have the best of intentions every month, but find you don’t have enough left over after you pay your bills to pay yourself in the form of savings? In the word’s of Michael Jackson, “You are not alone.”

This isn’t an uncommon problem — most people find it hard to save. Generally, when you receive income it is either deposited directly into your checking account, or you make the deposit yourself, either at the bank, through an ATM, or via your phone.

And then your money heads straight to your checking account, so it’s available to pay the seemingly endless stream of bills.

It’s a vicious cycle, and one that’s hard to break. But fortunately, there is a way to break it: an automatic savings plan.

America Saves Week
America Saves, I save, You save!

Why Saving Money is Hard

You may not realize this (and may not feel that this is the case for you), but most people save money as an afterthought.

When they receive income (whether it’s a paycheck, freelance work, investments or other sources), their money is allocated to bills, groceries, rent or a mortgage. After paying for these expensive items, there may or may not be much left over to use for savings (or for fun). In this scenario, the only time someone adds money to a savings account is when there’s money left over from paying the bills at the end of the month.

Unfortunately, with this mindset, there is almost never any money left over to save. By the way, if you need to change your mindset regarding money, I have a FREE e-course which you can sign up for here.

So how do you break out of this pattern? Well, I’m glad you asked, because you know I have a plan for you!

The Answer: Automatic Savings

When you make deposits into a savings account automatically and regularly, you don’t have to think about it — the money is deposited before you have time to worry about expenses or how much money will be left over. Once you get used to it, you might not even miss the money.

Thanks to modern technology, it is very easy to set up an automatic savings plan.

First, you need a savings account. Open one at the bank where you have your checking account if you don’t already have one set up, and make certain your checking and savings accounts are linked.

If you currently have direct deposit through your employer, you will find the easiest (and most effective) way to establish your automatic savings program is to have part of your paycheck directly deposited into your savings account (the rest, as usual, will flow to your checking account to cover your bills). It doesn’t matter if it is $10 or $500 — simply setting this up automatically will ensure you save money every time you are paid.

If you don’t have direct deposit, there is still an easy option available: set up an automatic transfer from your checking account to your savings account every time you’re paid. For example, if you’re paid every other Friday, you could establish an automatic transfer of a set amount of money from checking to savings to coincide with this deposit.

 Just make sure you’re aware of when the money will be deducted each month, or you may find yourself overdrawn.

Don’t Touch the Money (Unless You Need It)

This last point could be the hardest: you’ll need to learn to leave your savings in your savings account unless you need it for an emergency. The idea is for you to get used to doing without that cash to cover regular, monthly expenses. If you tap into it every time you run a little short, there won’t be anything left when you really need it. Set up your automatic savings plan and then leave the money alone to grow.

You can see more way’s to make saving automatic here

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How To Overcome Expenses That Thwart Efforts to Save

Do those little surprise expenses throw you off track? Does it seem like every time you save two dollars you have to spend one? Here are a few tips to help you overcome those unexpected expenses that thwart efforts to save

So the other day, a girlfriend and I were talking. She told me that she finds it hard to save, because of expenses popping up that she didn’t plan for.  I told her, “shoot girl, you aren’t by yaself. I used to be the same way.” We laughed it off but continued to talk about it.  She said that unanticipated expenses crop up regularly — most months or almost every month.

My question to her was, “If unplanned expenses occur so often, can they really be a surprise? I mean, don’t you sort of know that thing’s can and will happen? A Murphy’s law type thing of sorts.”

Her reply, “It isn’t that they’re purely unexpected. If you have a car, you know it’ll break down eventually. The thing is that you don’t really expect it to happen today.”

My next question to her was, “So you know you have a raggedy car, you know it may break down, but you don’t plan for it to break down?” I was so confused by then, I needed a drink and a Goody powder.

I understand with little wiggle room between income and expenses, even relatively small changes in planned spending — like a higher-than-usual heating bill or a minor car repair — can pose a financial challenge, since the timing and exact amount are unpredictable. Trust me, I’ve been there.

I know she saves because I have put her on a savings plan of sorts. Her problem is that she is only saving for shorter-term needs. Money set aside in a savings account may be for next month’s rent, rather than for unspecified needs far in the future. Short-term savings are different from long-term savings. She and I have had the conversation that she needs to build her capability fund. You know, the fund you have for when your car breaks down or some other unexpected event occurs. You have to be capable of handling those expenses. What can I say, my friend is hard headed, but I love her.

While “saving” has traditionally been thought of as a gradual process of building funds for future use, a different mind-set is at work for families focused on shorter-term needs. Savings is an activity, an ongoing behavior, in which families build up a bit of money, then deplete it when the need arises and build it back up again.

Such behavior can be beneficial, since using the funds as intended, for unexpected expenses, means you do not need to take on high-interest debt.

Here are some questions and answers about financial capability, that can help you prepare for those unexpected expenses:

How should I build a financial capability account?

Ask your bank or credit union to automatically transfer money each month from your checking account to a savings account, (or set up a transfer yourself, if you bank online).

If you don’t have a checking account, start saving your loose change. Once you see a bit of money accrue, it encourages more saving.

Cut back on spending, if you can. If you spend $40 going out to lunch each week, begin taking your lunch to work. It has been found that nearly two-thirds of Americans lack savings to cover a $500 car repair. If they had to reduce spending to pay a bill, more than half said they would eat fewer meals at restaurants.

How much should I aim to save?

Older rules of thumb, like saving three months or six months of income, may be unrealistic for many people in the beginning. There’s some danger in setting the bar too high.  A more reasonable initial goal, given ups and downs in household finances, is one month of income, to help provide a cushion for the inevitable bumps in the road.

What other steps can I take to save?

For starters, you can download my FREE report, 54 Way’s To Save Money. One trick: Every time you indulge — whether it’s to buy a specialty coffee or a six-pack of beer — stash an amount equal to the purchase price in a cookie jar at home. If you can’t afford to save the matching amount, you can’t afford the super almond low-fat latte.

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While borrowing money to save money may seem counterintuitive, some credit unions are offering loans that do just that, partly as an alternative to high-fee payday loans. Ask your local credit union if it offers a “borrow and save” program, which lets consumers borrow small amounts — often less than $1,000, although some loans may be as high as $3,000. Typically, as a requirement of the loan, borrowers agree to have a portion of the funds — as much as a quarter or half of the money — deposited into a savings account. When the loan is paid off, the borrower has access to the savings, which can help cover unexpected expenses in the future.

I hope these tips help you and my friend get those financial capability funds in order. What other tip’s can you give to help Overcome Expenses That Thwart Efforts to Save?

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The Ultimate Guide To Senior Citizen Savings

If you're a senior citizen, one of your primary financial goals should be to make sure the money you've saved lasts as long as you do.

 

If you’re a senior citizen, one of your primary financial goals should be to make sure the money you’ve saved lasts as long as you do. Of course, the most obvious ways to do this are to save as much as possible before you retire, and to use the money from your nest egg wisely. It’s clear that frugality is still a prevailing financial trend. Saving money is not only necessary, it’s almost patriotic. With that in mind, here is the ultimate guide to senior citizen savings.It’s important to keep as much of your retirement nest egg as possible, and these tips can help you do that. Check off the ones that apply to you and then take action.

1. Shop for new Medicare coverage. It is a mistake to assume that last year’s Medicare coverage is still the best deal for you. Health reform has accelerated changes that were already affecting Medicare policies and prices.

2. Try one shopping trip a week. This will limit impulse purchases, force you to do better meal planning, and also cut down on car expenses.

3. Bargain for lower interest rates. Why should everyone benefit from lower rates but you? If you have any debt outstanding, now is the time to seek a better deal.

4. Refinance your mortgage. With home loan rates at 50-year lows, take a careful look at refinancing. How much will it cost you? Divide this by the number of years you expect to stay in your home. Then look at how much your monthly payments would decline with a lower mortgage rate. How many years will it take you to come out ahead? If it’s only a few years, get yourself into a bank or other mortgage lender now.

5. Pay annually if you can. Insurance and other annual services will let you pay the bill in smaller monthly installment payments. But while these monthly payments are not considered a loan, that is exactly what they are. You wind up paying the equivalent of interest in the form of higher payments.

6. Buddy up on groceries. Build a shopping list for that weekly supermarket trip with a neighbor or other friend. You’ll get some good social time and save money by buying larger sizes and splitting them.

7. Buddy up on travel, too. Every time you find yourself going on an errand by yourself, ask if there might have been a friend you could have taken along. And for vacations, it’s often possible to lower the per-person costs if you travel with friends.

8. Brew it yourself. OK. Every list needs something you can ignore. Go get that venti latte!

9. Don’t buy movies and books. The library remains a great way to save a buck on books and movies. If you’re comfortable with eBooks and streaming videos, check to see if your library has started offering digital lending. Many have.If you're a senior citizen, one of your primary financial goals should be to make sure the money you've saved lasts as long as you do.

10. Never pay a late fee. Make a list of when all your payments are due. If you use online bill payments and are not worried about overdrafts on your bank account, set your recurring bills for automatic payment and save time along with those late fees.

11. Unplug unused devices. I tried this and the results showed up right away in the next month’s power bill. Most electronic devices use a bit of power even when you’re not using them. Make it a habit to only plug things in when you’re using them. Maybe your family room won’t be lit up like Bourbon Street anymore with all those little lights.

12. Turn off heat to unused rooms. This is a no-brainer, but it’s surprising how many obvious things we don’t do. If you use hot-water radiators, make sure you bleed off any air pockets that have built up in them since last winter.

13. Use programmable thermostats. Why heat up (or cool down) your home when no one is there? It’s one thing to turn down thermostats during the winter, but it’s even better to program your home’s temperatures to turn off the heat (without risking pipe damage) when you’re not there or at night when you’re sleeping.

14. Merge your home phone and cellular services. As the number of cell phones continues to soar past the total for landlines, the question of whether you really need both is getting louder.

15. Generic is good. Look for generic store brands and give them a try. And when it comes to prescriptions, there is even less reason to stick with branded drugs if identical generic versions are available.

16. Flaunt your age for discounts. If there is one virtue of old age that is worth exploiting, it is senior discounts. Look for them. Use them. I’m so excited that this year, my husband qualifies for AARP! I’m paying his membership as a gift to him. He is going to kill me lol.

17. Make your own birthday and other event cards. The mark-up on greetings cards must be enough to make the folks at Exxon jealous. By crafting your own messages, you will save money. Even more, that personal touch will probably make a very favorable impact on the recipient.

18. Drink water, not soda. And I don’t mean bottled water. Changing this single habit will help your wallet gain weight while the rest of you slims down.

19. No partial loads. Do not waste energy, water, and detergent by doing partial loads of dishes or laundry.

20. Barter. I truly believe the Internet was created to let us swap stuff. So, before you go out and buy a new appliance or hardware tool, see if you can find someone online willing to trade it for something you have. If you’re not in a rush, go to Craigslist and set up automated email alerts for the items you’re seeking.

Does anyone else have any additional tip’s for our senior citizens? Please feel free to comment below.

These tips weren’t enough?  Then please grab your copy of my FREE report, 54 Way’s To Save Money.

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Saving Tips for Single Parents

single parents know the challenge of keeping a budget in check. Cutting spending can seem like an enormous task to anyone who is raising a family, but you'd be surprised at how much you can save by taking a few small cost-cutting steps.

It’s probably the hardest job in America and it doesn’t pay a salary, but millions do it anyway. The job is single parenting. Adjusting to life as a single parent involves facing numerous energy-sapping challenges. If you’re a single parent, you’ll have to come up with a balanced strategy that meets the emotional and financial needs of yourself and your family.

Most single parents know the challenge of keeping a budget in check. Cutting spending can seem like an enormous task to anyone who is raising a family, but you’d be surprised at how much you can save by taking a few small cost-cutting steps. Plus, by opening an online bank savings account, you can save time and money while staying in control of your money.  It’s no easy task, but these tips may help you avoid burnout and realize your future goals.

Evaluate your underlying spending philosophy.

It sounds simple, but when you recognize the difference between buying what you want and buying what you need, you’re less likely to fall into a spending trap and more likely to build up your bank account.

Start an emergency fund and pay with cash whenever possible.

You might be surprised to get a discount —even if it’s small—when you ask if there is a cash discount at many retailers. More importantly, paying with cash instead of using credit keeps you from experiencing the stress of all that interest if you don’t pay the balance off each cycle. And with an emergency fund in place, such as in an online bank savings account from Ally Bank, you may have a reserve you can tap when you would have otherwise had to use a credit card.

Scale back.

Do you really need unlimited cell phone minutes or the giant cable plan with hundreds of stations you never watch? Begin to cut back on things that aren’t necessities. As a single parent, these decisions fall to you to decide. Some people choose to eliminate their home phone or save money on utility bills by turning down the thermostat, turning of unused lights and using appliances with discretion. Each item only saves a few dollars a month, but together it adds up.

Pay your bills online. single parents know the challenge of keeping a budget in check. Cutting spending can seem like an enormous task to anyone who is raising a family, but you'd be surprised at how much you can save by taking a few small cost-cutting steps.

Some utility companies and other businesses will offer you a monthly savings to “go green” with paperless bills. The savings you get on checks, paper, stamps and gas can then be put into your online bank savings account, where it will earn interest.

Eat at home.

As convenient as it is, eating out is almost always more costly than cooking at home. Even a fast-food menu can be surprisingly expensive when you are feeding both yourself and your children. Plan ahead so you don’t have to eat out. There are a number of online resources with quick and easy recipes, and you might even consider the “cook once, eat all week” strategy, where you consolidate all your cooking for the week’s meals into one cooking session. For example, the tomato sauce for Monday’s pasta can become the perfect addition to Tuesday’s meatloaf, Wednesday’s stuffed peppers, Thursday’s sloppy joes, and Friday’s make-your-own pizzas.

Buy and sell second-hand.

The options for gently used clothing for both children and adults abound, not only in your own community, but online. Ebay and Craigslist.org are also good online options for buying what you need at a good price and selling what you don’t use anymore to make money. Even if you have the budget for new clothes, buying “gently used” clothing can amount to significant savings—money you can use instead for educational expenses, sports and activity costs, and so on.

Network with other single parents.

Being a single parent is exhausting! And since money can also be tight, it often means you don’t have much of a social life. This can not only leave you feeling isolated, but hopeless. Just like in the movie, The Single Moms Club, get together with other single moms and help each other by sitting down to meal plan together, clip coupons, do play-dates, and even swap babysitting so you all can get some breathing time in. Having a network of moms can save you money, because you can all help ease each other’s burden. It’s kind of like pooling your resources. Maybe you have an abundance in this area, they have an abundance in another area. It can even out quite nicely.

For more saving tip’s and strategies, don’t forget to grab my FREE report, 54 Way’s To Save Money

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If you are a single parent, I’d love to hear any tips you have for saving money.

 

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6 Reasons to Save for Retirement at Your First Job

 Did you know that if you are a recent graduate, you are in the best position of our life to begin saving for retirement? You will be able to retire in comfort and not have to worry about if social security will around for you, if you start saving on your first job

Did you know that if you are a recent graduate, you are in the best position of our life to begin saving for retirement.

Most new college graduates aren’t thinking about their eventual retirement from the workforce, but they should be. The financial decisions you make at a first job can set you up for a lifetime of financial success and a comfortable retirement. Here’s why you should begin saving for retirement with your first paycheck:

401(k) match

A 401(k) match is likely going to provide the best return you can receive on an investment. If your employer offers a 50 cent contribution for each dollar you save up to 6 percent of pay, you will get a 50 percent return on that investment. That doesn’t even include investment gains! If you save $1,000, you will get an extra $500 from your employer. You want to join as soon as you can, and you want to contribute as much as you can. If you can’t afford to contribute the maximum, try to contribute enough to get as much of that employer match as you can. This is free money! And who doesn’t like FREE money?

Compound interest

Putting money into a retirement account at an early age gives it more time to grow. The results of compounded investment gains can be impressive over a 40-year career. If you save just $2,000 per year beginning at age 22, you will have over half a million dollars by age 65, assuming 7 percent annual returns. And if you received an employer match on that $2,000, you would have nearly three quarters of a million by age 65. If you wait until age 35 to start saving, you’ll have to save over $5,000 per year to hit half a million dollars by age 65.  Saving early means you can save smaller amounts and let the interest on your investments do the rest of the work. If you can get critical mass early in life, then everything is going to be a lot easier later on in life. The portfolio is doing most of the heavy lifting!

Tax savings

Saving for retirement in a traditional 401(k) or individual retirement account lowers your tax bill each year. For someone in the 15 percent tax bracket, putting $5,000 in a 401(k) or IRA will save you $750 on your current tax bill. If you’re in the 25 percent tax bracket, the same contribution will save you $1,250. Income tax won’t be due on your contributions until you withdraw the money, and it can be deferred until age 70½, at which time withdrawals become required.

Roth option

Young investors with low incomes also have a lot to gain from investing in a Roth IRA or Roth 401(k). Roth accounts allow you to pay income tax at your current rate, and then withdrawals from accounts that are at least five years old will be tax-free in retirement. If I was in the 15 percent tax bracket, I would probably save through the Roth. If you are in the 25 or 28 percent bracket, you would probably contribute to the deductible IRA, and you would just base it upon what your tax bracket is.

Saver’s credit

Workers who earn small salaries at their first job but still manage to save for retirement may additionally be able to claim the saver’s credit. Individuals with an adjusted gross income of less than $30,000 in 2014 who contribute to a 401(k), IRA or similar type of retirement account are eligible for a tax credit equal to 50, 20 or 10 percent of the amount contributed up to $2,000, with the biggest credit going to those with the lowest incomes.

Automatic withholding

One of the most valuable features of 401(k) plans is that the money is withheld from your paycheck before it ever hits your checking account, so you’re never tempted to spend it.  I know getting motivated to save for something that will happen 25 or 30 years from now is tough. Virtually every successful savings plan includes an automatic component. If you don’t have a 401(k) account at work, you can recreate this effect by directly depositing a portion of your paychecks into an IRA, savings or investment account.

If you are looking for more way’s to save then grab my FREE report, 54 Way’s To Save Money, and let’s build that retirement fund.

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The Secret To Saving More

Did you know that there is a Secret To Saving more? Well, it's not really a secret, you just have to be motivated to save and find way's to do it.

Well most of the time I can keep a secret, however this is one of those times I just can’t hold water. Did y’all know it was a secret to saving more? Well, really it isn’t a secret. It’s actually being motivated to save and finding way’s to save.

According to a new, 15-part checklist released this week, the most important steps toward creating a solid nest egg include making a plan with specific goals, avoiding high-interest debt and saving at least 5 percent of your income. Before you bash me 5% is not that much. The campaign also recommends making savings deposits automatic through bank accounts and contributing regularly to retirement accounts. You can read more about automatic saving here.

In a survey of more than 1,000 people conducted in September, it was found that young people between ages 18 and 35 were particularly interested in saving. This fact is attributed partly to the lingering effects of the Great Recession as well as concerns over the stability of Social Security. That younger group also had the highest rating for effort made to save. Go head young people whoop whoop!

It can only be speculated that the late, Great Recession especially influenced young people, and that they’re skeptical about receiving Social Security benefits. Heck, I’m not even young and I’m skeptical about receiving Social Security benefits. It’s also noted that the median income of young adults has fallen, which further underscores their financial insecurity and need to save. Sorry young people.

The survey also found that higher-income individuals reported the highest levels of interest in savings, as well as the greatest amount of effort made to save. The group attributes that finding to the fact that it’s likely easier for higher-income individuals to find ways to tuck money away. Unsurprisingly, higher-income individuals also reported being able to save more effectively than lower-income individuals. The highest levels of interest, effort and effectiveness of saving were found among respondents earning over $100,000 a year.

It can be said that those with the greatest ability to save also make the greatest effort to save. Hold up, I don’t make $100 grand a year but I manage to find way’s to save. If you are looking for way’s to save you can find them here.  The findings illustrate the pessimism among low-income Americans and the pervasive belief that it is too difficult to save. That’s why I believe it’s just as important to help motivate people to save and to provide opportunities to do so, as it is to inform them how to save effectively. Don’t forget to grab my FREE report, 54 Way’s To Save Money

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I want to convince those in the lower-income brackets, including those earning under $50,000 or even $25,000 a year, to find ways to save more. That way, they can avoid credit card debt or high-interest rate payday loans and build up greater financial security. According to the report, moderate, and not just low-income families, did not believe they could save $1,000. One of my principal goals is to persuade people that they have the ability to save.

Believing that they can save is one of the first steps toward helping low-income families do so. Even starting with just accumulating loose change, which can add up to $100 a year or more, can be a good start. In my years of personal finance coaching, I have heard stories where that’s how people started to save. It wasn’t the amount of dollars that was important, it was seeing that they could save.

Even though this is not automatic it is still an opportunity to save. At the end of the day save you change in a jar and after a month deposit what you have into your savings account and watch it grow
Save Save Save

While several hundred dollars might not sound like significant savings, it can actually make a big difference for those in the low- and middle-income brackets,  In a 2008 study from the Consumer Federation of America found that having at least $500 in savings was correlated with a slew of other positive financial factors, including less concern over paying monthly bills, the ability to keep up with the mortgage or rent and general concern over personal finances. The survey data suggest that this figure [$500], or something close to it, may represent a threshold that distinguishes both attitudes and behaviors.

For people on the financial edge, saving $100, or $200, or $500 can make all the difference in the world. The most important financial step for low-income individuals is to increase their incomes.

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20 Easy Way’s to Save Money Every Day

I suppose if saving money was easy, everyone would save. Seeing as how it's easier said than done take these 20 easy way's to save money every day and start saving

 

You know, I have been thinking (I don’t know if that’s a good thing or a bad thing) in our world of instant gratification, it’s more important than ever to be able to stay focused on saving money any way you can. So to help you monitor your spending habits and cut expenses, here are 20 easy way’s to save money every day—starting right now, after you finish reading this post.  Ha!   How’s that for instant gratification?

1. Make a weekly “money date.”  Now before you think I have gone off the deep end, hear me out. Yes, I said it, honey you got to date your money!  Commit to sitting down with your money once a week for a money date. During this time, update your budget, review your accounts and track your progress against your financial goals. Like any relationship, if you want your financial life to improve, you must spend time with your money. I know it’s not the most romantic date. but if you are under budget you can at least buy yourself some chocolate and enjoy your money date.

2. Plan out your meals for the week. Taking a few hours every weekend to grocery shop and meal plan for the week will definitely save you money, as dining

Prepare a meal plan. That's one of my 20 way's to save money every day. That way you won't have a reason to go out to eat and you can save some money
Grilled Salmon is what’s for dinner William

out is the No. 1 expense for most households. By eating at home, you save money that would otherwise be spent on tax and tip—and you usually save calories, too. And if you are married like me, with a meal plan your spouse won’t have to call you at 11:00 AM after he gets off of work asking you what’s for

dinner. Dude I haven’t even eaten lunch yet what do you mean what’s for dinner. I promise a meal plan has probably saved my marriage. All he has to do is look on the chalk board and boom, there is what’s for dinner.

 

3. Cut out cable. Gasp! Cut out TV?! Never! But with services like Hulu, Netflix and Amazon Prime, you can now watch your favorite TV shows and movies for a fraction of the cost of cable TV. That’s my advice to you lol do as I say not as I do, cause my cable ain’t going nowhere.

A study by market research firm NPD Group shows that cable bills will soon grow to an average of $123 per month, or $1,476 per year. By switching over to an online service or cutting out TV altogether, you can save that money for another financial goal—such as paying off debt, traveling or saving for a down payment on a home.

4. Switch to an exercise pass program. If you love working out, an exercise pass program such as Class Pass is the way to go. By paying a membership fee of $99 per month, you are welcome at many of the best studios in your area. And classes—like cycling, yoga, Pilates, barre, strength training, boot camp, dance and more—are unlimited. This beats having to pay for each studio’s monthly membership or individual class fee, which can add up to hundreds of dollars a month. Or, your son can be a personal trainer like mine and boyah FREE exercise plans. However, if your son isn’t then the Class Pass is the way to go!

5. Host a potluck. The more friends you have, the more money you spend on lunch dates, birthday parties and gifts. Switch it up and, instead of meeting over a fancy dinner, host a potluck and have everyone bring his or her favorite dish. That way, you can save money you’d spend on restaurant extras, such as tax, tip and parking—and you’ll usually have a more intimate meal together, too.

Now, here’s what I do cause I know you want to know What Would Tracie Do. I have two daughter’s and friend that work with me. We potluck our lunches. Each person brings a dish and we all eat for like two day’s. Saves us tons of money. One other thing is we combine the birthday’s in our family in the month and make one big potluck dinner do it. Happy birthday, and don’t say we didn’t think about you and for goodness sake please do not skimp on the March birthday’s cause I may feel some type of way if you do.

 

6. Leverage lodging rental websites. Finding a place to stay while traveling is so convenient when you use a lodging rental website such as Airbnb, Travelmob or Housetrip. You can often find a place that has a kitchen (so you can cook meals at home to save money) at a rate that’s comparable to hotels. You can even rent out your own place on sites such as Airbnb while you travel to make some extra cash to pay for your own travel expenses. It’s a win-win scenario.

Or, you can be extra cheap like me and go visit a relative and stay with them lol. I’ll be to see you soon son, with my suitcase and I’m staying a week! If he is reading this I know he is shaking his head. Love you boo!

7. Make coffee at home. This one’s not my favorite, as I absolutely love going to coffee shops and drinking delicious organic coffee. However, spending $4 to

Make you coffee at home! One of my 20 easy way's to save money every day
The best part of waking up is Folgers in my cup and money in the bank!

$5 on coffee every day definitely adds up. So try my approach and allow yourself a few days a week to buy coffee at cafés, and make it at home the rest of the time. I promise it’s good to the last drop and nothings better than waking up with Folgers in your cup and money in the bank!

8. Work more.  I know you all think I have flipped my wig, literally lol. When you’re working a lot, there’s not much time left to shop and spend money. So stay busy and pursue a career you love. Ok so maybe not work in the traditional sense, but just keep busy. I have 14 grandchildren and 5 of which live in the house with me, so you know I’m either always busy or too tired to shop. Take your pick and I’m sure you’ll be correct!

9. Wait 48 hours before you click “buy.” Since we can have anything we want these days with just the click of a button (there’s that instant gratification again), you need to find a system to help buffer your impulse purchases.

Example: Wait 48 hours before spending money on things that cost more than a certain amount. When you do, you will find that, most of the time, the item was more of a “want” than a “need.” Plus, you’ll save money and work toward being more mindful with your spending.

10. Use blogs and Pinterest to learn DIY beauty treatments. Self-care is important—but going to spas and getting pedicures, massages, etc., can really add up. Allow yourself a certain amount to spend on these things; then use blogs and apps like Pinterest to find at-home beauty treatments to help you save money. Often you can find a DIY organic option using common household or kitchen products.

Ok, I’m just going to throw a shameless plug out here for ya. I am revamping my blog so I will have some of my favorite DIY beauty treatments up in about a month or so.

11. Outsource online. Time is a commodity, and your time is precious and valuable. And these days, there are so many tasks you can outsource that will save you time and money. But how do you figure out if outsourcing something is worth the expense?

A great thing to do is to actually calculate the cost of your time, which will help you figure out if you can pay someone to do something for less than your hourly rate. Here’s an example: A monthly net income of $3,000 divided by a total of 160 hours worked equals an hourly rate of $16.75. Now that you know the value of your time, you can strategically outsource it using a service like Fiverr or Task Rabbit for a fraction of your own hourly rate.

One task that I like to outsource is not found on Fiverr, it’s called cleaning house. I get mine done for free. Wanna know how? Her name is T’Aliyah and she gets no pay but she does get free room and board, all the food she can eat, dance classes, girl scouts and many more things a 9 year old can have lol. Yep I make my grand daughter help me.

As for my yard boy, that’s my grandson Tavarius, T-Man for short. He helps Pop Pop in the yard and get’s the same amenities T’Aliyah gets except for girl scouts. How’s that for outsourcing?

12. Get creative with gifts. Find creative ways to express your love to friends and family members with free, lower-cost or handmade birthday and holiday gifts. After all, a handwritten note explaining why you love someone can be more sentimental than some expensive gift he or she may never even use. Most people will appreciate the thought behind your gifts more than anything, so don’t be afraid to save money and find free ways to celebrate birthdays and holidays.

One of my favorite gifts was re-gifted to me by my baby boy. It is a coffee mug that I use at work when I make that Folgers in my cup.

13. Choose quality over quantity. This can apply to food, clothes, electronics and much more. Although it’s tempting to choose the more budget-friendly version of an item, sometimes choosing quality over quantity will save you more in the long run. Save up your money and get the best-quality product you can afford, and leverage the cost-per-wear philosophy with more expensive clothing and shoes.

This applies to food, too: Buying quality organic food can nourish you in ways that fill you up more than the prepackaged, processed stuff and potentially save you money on health-care expenses in the future, since you’re taking good care of yourself. Find a balance that is right for you and choose quality whenever you can.

14. Deal with your emotions. Excessive spending is often a way to avoid feeling certain emotions. If you check in with yourself before you go on a major spending spree, you may be able to identify if you’re feeling bored, lonely or stressed and are therefore spending money as a means to avoid the underlying emotion. Check in with yourself before you buy, and be mindful with your spending.

If you are in need of a money mindset makeover, you can take my FREE 5 day e-course. Sign up for that right here. I’m just full of shameless plugs today aren’t I ?

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15. Stop trying to keep up with the Kardashians. It’s hard to keep your blinders on and not compare your financial life to that of others, especially celebrities. However, it is really important to be clear about what matters most to you and make sure you build a financial plan that supports that vision. This will keep you moving toward your financial goals and stop you from spending money on things you don’t need, to impress people you don’t like.

16. Read a personal finance book. When you learn about personal finance, you’ll learn even more strategies to help you save money for your goals in life. Knowledge is power, and the more you know, the more you can save.

Wouldn’t you know, I have another shameless plug. My book, Grandma’s Pearls of Wisdom: 12 Steps to Financial Freedom will be released later this year. If you wan’t first dibs before it hit’s the shelves, enter your info below.

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17. Balance your “FOMO/YOLO” mind-set. With social media controlling our lives like never before, people often fall victim to the “fear of missing out” phenomenon and instead go overboard with a “you only live once” mentality.

While it is important to live in the present and soak up each precious moment of life, make sure you balance that out by saving for your financial future, too. Without checks and balances in place, you can find yourself saying yes to everything and spending more money than you have—all due to the fear of missing out.

18. Map out your financial goals. Be very specific with your financial goals. For example, saying, “I want to save for a home down payment” is not enough. You need to map out how much you need, by when and what you need to save every month in order to reach the goal. When you know what your targets are, you’re more likely to stay the course and continue saving for them for the long term.

19. Keep your eye on the prize.  Baby, you got to have the eye of the tiger when it comes to keeping your eye on the prize.  Staying focused on your goals takes discipline and determination. Saving can be easy and exciting at first, but after a while you may lose that initial motivation and start to find other things you can spend that money on. To avoid veering off course, check in with your goals regularly and keep your eye on the prize.

20. Track your progress. Americans save only 5.5 percent of their money compared to the 20 percent that personal finance indicates you should put away. But instead of feeling ashamed about your lack of savings, just start by saving something.

Even 1 percent is better than nothing. Track your progress and continue to increase the number year after year. Step by step, day by day, you can get to that 20 percent savings level.

Before you leave, make sure that you have gotten my FREE report 54 Way’s to Save Money. Also, please comment below and let me know if you have any way’s that you use to save every day. I’d love to incorporate them in my saving plan.

 

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5 Opportunities for Automatic Savings

I thought this time I would give you 5 opportunities for automatic savings. If it's one thing for sure, all this automatic stuff has certainly helped me in getting my finances in order.

 

 

Since my last post was about 7 way’s to automate your saving’s if you didn’t catch that post you can click on the link and read it there.  I thought this time I would give you 5 opportunities for automatic savings. If it’s one thing for sure, all this automatic stuff has certainly helped me in getting my finances in order.

Sure, we understand that saving regularly is one of the simplest ways to reach our financial goals.  Let’s face it, we don’t all take advantage of easy ways to automate our savings. As part of America Saves Week, I’ve devised a list of five automatic savings opportunities that are often overlooked. These go a step beyond the normal mere automatic transfers from checking to savings. They’re easy, straight-forward ways to save money automatically that most of us don’t take advantage of yet, and they increase your chances of reaching your goals even faster.

1.  Direct Deposit Your Tax Refund Into Savings
According to the IRS, the average American’s tax refund now stands at over $3,100. Don’t let that windfall slip through your fingers. Deposit all or part of it into your savings account, instead, and watch your money grow. Don’t just take that windfall and ball till you fall. I used to be guilty of that, but thank God when you know better you do better.  Plus, the IRS allows direct deposits into one or more accounts, such as a checking and savings account, which means you can choose to spend a portion and save the rest. (I’d recommend saving all you can.) Conveniently, you can also direct deposit all or part of your refund into your Individual Retirement Account (IRA), or use it to purchase up to $5,000 in U.S. Series I Savings Bonds. You can split your refund using tax preparation software, or Form 8888, if you use paper filing.

2. Don’t Forget Bonuses or Commissions
Do you get quarterly or yearly bonuses? Are commissions a part of your earnings? If you answered yes to either of those questions, count yourself lucky. Don’t forget to direct deposit all or part of these funds into your savings. Consult with your employer about direct depositing the funds into your savings account, or set up automatic transfers from your checking to savings accounts when you expect the funds.

Another alternative? During those times you receive extra earnings, increase the contributions on your employer-sponsored retirement plan, such as a 401(k). It’ll help you max out your contributions faster and earn any applicable company match to boost your savings even further. Consult with your HR representative or your company’s online retirement plan portal to manage your contributions.

Have you gotten my FREE REPORT 54 Way’s To Save Money? If not, you can still get it while it’s free and the getting is good.

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3. Save Your Spare Change
Some banks and credit unions offer programs which automatically round up to the next dollar on any purchases you make, and transfer the spare change from your checking to savings account. These programs are free, and provide a fool-proof way to jumpstart your savings and always pay yourself first. You probably won’t miss the spare change in your checking account, but your savings will sure be glad for the extra boost. Even small amounts saved over time add up. Also save any spare change at the end of the day. Put it in a jar and hide the jar from your kids and grand children, jk. At the end of the month see how much you have in the jar and deposit that into your saving account. (ok I know that wasn’t automatic,but I just wanted to throw that in)

Even though this is not automatic it is still an opportunity to save. At the end of the day save you change in a jar and after a month deposit what you have into your savings account and watch it grow
Save Save Save

4. Credit Card Rewards Can Boost Savings, Too
Many popular credit cards rewards programs offer several rewards options, ranging from airline miles or hotel points to cash back. Sadly, many credit card rewards perks often go unused, making them less than rewarding. But if you choose to receive rewards in the form of cash back, instead, many cards will deposit the rewards sum directly into an account of your choice. If you’re limited to receiving the funds into checking, you can always transfer the funds to savings. Either way, you’re boosting your savings painlessly. Don’t forget to pay off the balance on your card at the end of every month to avoid costly interest fees, otherwise you’ll spend more on interest than you’ll receive in rewards.

5. Set Your Savings Rate Higher
So, you think you’re a savings pro now that you’ve got regular transfers or direct deposits into your savings account? Well, you can go a step further still by periodically increasing your savings rate, whether to your employer-sponsored retirement plan or your savings account. Many 401(k) plans allow users to opt-in to periodic increases in their savings rates, such as a 1 percent increase in their contributions per year. If you prefer to contribute to a savings account or other savings vehicle, consider increasing your contributions regularly, such as every time you get a raise.

Having the foresight to automate your savings can help you beat temptation and stay ahead financially. And the techniques described above are easy ways to take your savings to the next level. For more way’s 54 to be exact, don’t forget to download my FREE report 54 Way’s To save Money. As you can see, you can’t leave any stones unturned when it comes to saving. Tell me in the comments below, what opportunities you use to save automatically.

 

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7 Ways to Automate Your Savings

 

If saving money is hard for you, you should try automating your savings. With these 7 ways to automate your savings you will have a great little nest egg in no time. While you're here be sure to download my FREE report showing you 54 way's you can save. Hurry and grab it while it's free

Sometimes, building a healthy cushion of savings can seem like a daunting task. We all know how easy it is to make a late credit card payment, or  end up spending all of your paycheck without remembering to save part of it. One easy way to get started on saving during America Saves Week is to automate your savings. Having technology work to save money for you takes much of the effort out of the equation, saves time, and makes it easier for you to achieve your goals. Keep reading for 7 ways to automate your savings.

 

  1. Automate Retirement Contributions

If your employer matches retirement contributions to your 401K or retirement plan, be sure to take advantage of the free money! Sign up for retirement contributions to be automatically taken out of your paycheck. This saves you money in several ways. First, it contributes money before you even see your paycheck and have an opportunity to spend that money. Second, it saves you money on taxes as it is withdrawn from your pre-tax income. (Who doesn’t like saving on taxes?)

Even if you don’t have a retirement plan with your employer, you can still schedule your account to contribute automatically to your own retirement plan. Scheduling your contribution a day or two after you receive your paycheck ensures that saving for retirement is a priority.

 

Get my FREE report 54 Way’s To Save Money. In this report, I show you way’s to save on entertainment to transportation and so much more! Grab it today because it won’t be FREE for long
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  1. Transfer Money to Savings Accounts

To prioritize savings, schedule an automatic transfer of a certain amount of your monthly income into a savings account. Your savings will benefit from being set aside from your regular spending, as well as benefiting from a higher dividend rate. Eventually, just a small amount squirreled aside every month can translate into a healthy buffer of savings to hold you over on a rainy day.

If you are self-employed or a freelancer and you have to pay quarterly or yearly taxes on your income, sending the estimated tax you owe to a separate account every month will help you to avoid an unpleasant surprise at tax time.

 

  1. Pay Bills Automatically

Avoid late fees by paying your bills automatically. Some bills can be put on your credit card, whereas others can be set up to be paid directly from your bank account. I have my car insurance come directly out of my paycheck, because I get a hefty discount with one of our partner companies.

It’s also a good idea to set up your credit card bill to be directly paid from your bank account. That way, you avoid late fees as well as costly interest on overdue amounts. Be sure, however, that you have enough money in your account to avoid overdrawing your account and incurring additional fees.

 

  1. Get Money Back With Credit Card Rewards

There are many no-fee credit cards that offer cash back or rewards points. Use your card for all your regular purchases (and your monthly bills), and you’ll earn free rewards or cash back for your spending. If you plan to spend money on travel, rewards points that allow you to buy airplane tickets or hotel stays can also help save you money. Choosing the right credit card can also net you additional perks like car rental and travel insurance when you pay with your card.

It’s important to use your credit card responsibly, so be sure you can pay your balance in full every month to avoid extra fees.

 

  1. Use Technology to Cut Energy Costs

If you spend a lot on heating and cooling costs, investing in a smart thermostat can automatically save you energy and money, by reducing your energy usage during hours that you are away from home or at night. Many thermostats can also set different zones of your house to heat and cool differently depending on your needs, making your energy usage more efficient.

When your appliances are in need of replacement, replace them with energy-efficient models that will automatically reduce your energy usage every time you use them.

 

  1. Simplify and Save While Shopping

I’m old fashioned, but many people can’t be bothered to cut out physical coupons and fiddle with all those little slips of paper at the store. With smartphones, it’s much easier to automate the couponing process. Many grocery and big box stores have apps that allow you to choose the coupons you need from the app, and then apply them all by scanning your phone at checkout. Other apps aggregate coupons from many different retailers.

For regular purchases of things like diapers, toilet paper, and other necessities, consider joining an online subscription service. These services will deliver your purchases to your door regularly, as well as offer a discount in the process. That way, you won’t be stuck paying full price when you have to run out and buy these items at the last minute.

 

  1. Keep an Eye on Your Accounts

Staying aware of the activities in your accounts helps you to track your spending, as well as detect any fraudulent activity. I know it can be a bit of a pain to sign into each individual credit card and bank account separately. Instead, tie your accounts into an app (such as Mint.com) that allows you to see your transactions at a glance. This will help you to rein in your spending if needed, transfer money to savings or investment accounts, as well as save time keeping track of your accounts.

 

By setting your finances to automatically save for you, you’ll quickly be on your way to saving both time and money.

 

For more savings tips, don’t forget to download my FREE report, 54 Way’s to Save Money

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