Hello America Saves Week (February 22-27). It’s not as sexy as Mardi Gras. Not as festive as St. Patrick’s Day. Not as joyous as Easter. But, as the American family wages remain stagnant while costs go up, savings is something to be celebrated. This will be the first year that I celebrate America Saves Week and this is how I plan on putting more away.
Step 1: Decide what you are going to save for
Saving money for the sake of saving money doesn’t work because there is no goal to work toward. No matter how small, quantifying your goal will help you achieve it. The process will be different for different goals. Some people want to save for retirement. Others may want to save for education or their first home. We are committing to putting more money away in our 529 plan for our children’s education.
Step 2: Put a plan in place
The easiest way to save is through automatic deduction, whether a savings account, IRA or 529 plan. It’s true that many people have absolutely no money left over after paying bills and maybe automatic deduction isn’t possible. If this is the case, consider trying automatic deduction at home. Designate a change jar and all spare change laying around the house, exchanged in small purchases or given to the kids as a token gift, goes in the jar. It’s not the amount saved that is important, it’s the commitment to the act of saving that matters. We will be using an automatic deduction so we will never be tempted to spend the money we won’t see.
Step 3: Look for additional ways to save
Many moms are very resourceful at couponing and sticking to a strict budget on food. There may be other ways to save big. Consider cutting cable. If your cell phone contract is up, call your provider and speak to a retention specialist who can offer you cost-cutting savings. Call your homeowners, renters or car insurance company to see if you qualify for any additional discounts. Getting quotes from a few competitors may encourage your policy holders to find additional savings to keep your business. Cutting costs IS savings!
Step 4: Maintain momentum
Like all long term goals, it’s easy to fall off the momentum band wagon. Check out this page for tools and resources to help hold you accountable and on track towards your goals. You can join Tweet Chats, Facebook events and free webinars to help you get started and stay on the right path.
Ready to commit to savings? Tell us what you are #imsavingfor and enter the America Saves Week photo contest! Found a great way to bank some savings for your family? Share your savings strategy in the comments section!