Archive for the ‘News’ Category

How to Cope When You’ve Overspent on the Holidays

Monday, December 19th, 2011

For worried shoppers whose holiday enthusiasm may have pushed them beyond their financial limits, a University of Maine Cooperative Extension family budgeting specialist is available to offer advice.

With the holiday peak still a few days away, retailers are reporting record merchandise returns by gift-givers who have changed their minds. Buyer’s remorse over excessive impulse buying can be mitigated, however, says Cooperative Extension family budgeting expert Jane Conroy.

Before returning purchased gifts that consumers decide not to give, after all, Conroy says shoppers should be aware of store return policies, keep a list of purchases and hold onto a gift receipt for each. When returning an item, understand the reasonable expectations. “Do I want another item, do I want my money back, or a gift card?” she adds.

Another way to avoid overspending next year is to assess what was purchased that may not have been necessary. On other words, Conroy says, “How can I learn from what I did wrong this year? What can be changed in the future?”

For those looking at swollen credit card debt, Conroy advises that solid home budgeting and thinking about the difference between “need” and “want” can help consumers with hard decisions when it’s time to trim spending all the way around following the holiday season.

Conroy can be reached in the Piscataquis County Extension office in Dover-Foxcroft at (207) 564-3301, toll-free in Maine at 1-800-287-1491, or by e-mail: jconroy@maine.edu, to discuss what to get back on track with basic budgeting principles.

An Extension “Experts on Demand” YouTube video on gift giving and overindulgence featuring Extension child and family development specialist Leslie Forstadt also offers ideas for alternative gifts to and from the whole family.

Money Management Tips – Concluding Day

Sunday, February 27th, 2011

America Saves Week – Concluding Day – Money Management Tips

  1. Where do people put their savings dollars?  Savings accounts and certificates of deposit (CDs) are popular choices. Accounts can be opened at financial institutions such as commercial banks, savings and loans, and credit unions. Rates of return vary among financial institutions as do the maturity periods offered (e.g., 6-, 12-, and 24-month CDs). Generally, the longer the maturity on a savings product, the higher the interest paid. Become an American Saver at http://bit.ly/gliVkL
  2. Money market funds are a popular option for savers. They are a type of mutual fund that invests in short-term government securities and commercial loans and pays market interest rates. Initial minimum deposits generally range from $1,000 to $10,000 so you may need to save elsewhere first to accumulate the required amount. Money market funds are very liquid because they generally come with a check-writing option. Become an American Saver at http://bit.ly/gliVkL
  3. Saving regularly is the key to financial success. Whether you’re accumulating an emergency fund or saving for a vacation, a car, or retirement, you’ll be amazed how fast your savings will grow with regular deposits. At any age, saving today is better than waiting! Start by participating in a payroll deduction plan at work and become an American Saver at http://bit.ly/gliVkL.
  4. Today is the final day of America Saves Week. America Saves is a national campaign to persuade Americans who have little or no savings to “build wealth, not debt.” Savers identify a savings goal and take action on a plan to achieve it. The America Saves program is free and motivational. Check out these monthly messages from America Saves e-wealth coaches: http://bit.ly/hSJnXY. 
  5. The only sure-fire way to get ahead financially is to spend less than you earn. Counting on a big inheritance or settlement, a wealthy spouse, a game-changing invention, or winning the lottery cannot be guaranteed. Every successful financial plan includes some type of savings. Are you an American Saver?  Join America Saves today at http://bit.ly/gliVkL
  6. During this past week, you’ve received daily messages about the benefits of saving money, how to save, where to save, and why to save. As America Saves Week winds up, I’d like to know if these messages were helpful and if you joined America Saves and set a personal savings goal to achieve. Please complete this short online survey: http://bit.ly/ExSurvey  It is short (3 minutes) and everyone who completes it will be entered into a drawing for free gift cards. 
  7. During this past week, the America Saves Week campaign has called attention to the need for regular savings and debt reduction to achieve financial goals and provide peach of mind. Did you learn anything new from my Facebook posts?  Did you become an American Saver?  Please complete this short online survey and let me know: http://bit.ly/ExSurvey

For more information or to comment on this blog, contact:

  • deborah.killam@maine.edu

Money Management Tips – Day Seven

Saturday, February 26th, 2011

America Saves Week – Day Seven – Money Management Tips

  1. A financial check-up is as important as an annual physical with your doctor.  Like a medical exam, a review of your finances can screen for potential problems, such as lack of an emergency fund or a high debt-to-income ratio. The Financial Fitness Quiz at www.rce.rutgers.edu/money/ffquiz.asp includes 20 questions about financial practices.  Low scores indicate areas for improvement. Need to save for emergencies and future goals?  Become an American Saver at http://bit.ly/gliVkL
  2. When it comes to saving money, time is as precious a resource as money is.  Even small amounts of money, with compound interest over time, will grow to significant sums over time.  When there’s a will, there’s a way.  You don’t need a last name like “Gates” or “Buffet” to become a successful investor. Join America Saves and learn how others are reaching their personal savings goals: http://bit.ly/fHbGQy. You can too! What we think about, we bring about. 
  3. Millionaires get a lot of attention with a popular television game show and best-selling books like “The Millionaire Next Door” You cannot necessarily tell a millionaire by looking at one, however.  Many people with expensive possessions have a lot of debt and many wealthy people do not own expensive items.  Living below their means is a common characteristic of millionaires. They also follow a “pay yourself first” strategy of regular saving and are goal-oriented. Want to be wealthy? Become an American Saver.  Join America Saves and start saving today: http://bit.ly/fHbGQy
  4. Research on millionaires indicates that most grew their portfolios over time through regular savings.  The process of saving a fixed amount of money at a fixed time interval (e.g., $50 per month) is called dollar-cost averaging.  Many experts recommend saving 10% of what you earn. If saving 10% of earnings is impossible, start with less (e.g., 4%) and give your savings a raise when your income increases or when household expenses, like child care or a car loan, end. For more savings tips from America Saves e-wealth coaches, see: http://bit.ly/hSJnXY. 
  5. Want to save money? Get out of debt. PowerPay creates a schedule to apply payments from paid off creditors to remaining debts, thereby saving repayment time and interest.  For example, let’s assume someone owes money to seven creditors, had been making a $50 monthly payment to Sears, and that debt is repaid.  That $50 is applied to debt owed to the remaining six creditors, usually starting with the highest interest debt first.  For further information about PowerPay, visit www.powerpay.org. To learn more about saving, visit America Saveshttp://bit.ly/fHbGQy
  6. Need to “find” money to save? Plug your spending leaks. Add up what you’re spending on “little things” such as snacks, soda, fast food, cigarettes, lottery tickets, magazines, and more. Let’s say you can “find” $5 per day from reduced spending. That adds up to $1,825 in savings per year and even more with interest. For more savings tips, visit America Saves: http://bit.ly/fLuD29. 
  7. Saving a portion of your tax refund is a good way to prepare for life’s unexpected events. When you get your tax refund this year, save at least half of it for irregular household expenses (holidays, tuition, water bills, home maintenance), emergencies, and/or future financial goals. The IRS makes saving your tax refund very easy. Simply file Form 8888 with your tax return. This form allows you to direct deposit your tax refund into up to three different accounts. For more savings tips, visit America Saves: http://bit.ly/fLuD29 and become an American Saver: http://bit.ly/gliVkL
  8. Many people have a can or jar of coins stashed away. This is a great way to save money and it’s painless. Simply empty your pockets or purse at the end of the day and save your loose change. If you want to go a step further, save a dollar a day plus pocket change. At the end of a month, you’ll have about $50 in savings. When it comes time to cash in your coins, avoid machines that charge an 8% to 10% processing fee (a dime for every dollar you save!). Instead, ask your bank or credit union if they’ll count your change. Many will do this for free if you have an account with them. For more savings tips, visit the America Saves Web site: http://bit.ly/fLuD29. 
  9. It’s never too late to save money so stop beating yourself up if you haven’t saved much so far. Choose to save today! The payoff will be worth it! Here’s an example. If you save $1 a day ($30 per month), you’ll have a little over $25,000 in 30 years assuming a 5% return. Bump the daily savings up to $5 ($150 monthly) and you’ll have over $125,000. For more information, visit the  Choose to Save ( www.choosetosave.org) and America Saves (http://bit.ly/fHbGQy) web sites.

For more information or to comment on this blog, contact:

  • deborah.killam@maine.edu

Money Management Tips – Day Six

Friday, February 25th, 2011

America Saves Week – Day Six – Money Management Tips

  1. With compound interest, saving just 1% more of your pay ($400 on a $40,000 income) annually can provide tens of thousands of dollars more for retirement.  If you’re 25, 35, and 45 and earn $40,000, you’d have $164,523; $66,623; and $24,436, respectively, by saving 1% more, assuming an 8% average annual return. The more time you have to save, the more money you’ll have. Become an American Saver (it’s free and motivational) at http://bit.ly/gliVkL
  2. “Pay yourself first” is advice that we all need to take to be successful financially.  We can all set aside a few dollars each month to use for our financial goals or emergencies.  Those small amounts soon grow into larger amounts.  You’ll be surprised at how quickly a few dollars per week add up.  Save $50 a week at age 35 and you’ll have $217,645 at 65 assuming a 6% average annual return. Now that you are convinced that savings rocks, become an American Saver at http://bit.ly/gliVkL
  3. Unexpected expenses can break a family budget.  However, a car repair, a minor health problem, and a broken appliance are all “emergencies” we can plan for.  Set aside money each month for unexpected expenses in a savings or money market account. When you establish an emergency fund, money will be there when you need it. For more savings tips, visit: http://bit.ly/fLuD29. 
  4. Like a traveler who has no map, if you don’t have financial goals or a plan to achieve them, you won’t get very far.  Financial planning is very much like planning a trip.  You need to know where you want to go, when you want to arrive, how you plan to get there, and how much it will cost. Once you have determined your financial “destination,” savings will get you there. For more information about savings and the America Saves program, visit http://bit.ly/fWpOBu
  5. Have you ever had $50 in your pocket on Monday and by Wednesday it was gone?  Can you even remember what you spent it on?  Frequently, money slips through our fingers without our notice.  If this happens to you, keep a spending log for a month to see where your money is going.  It will help you “find” money to save by uncovering seemingly inexpensive habits which add up to real money over time. As you look for money to save, join America Saves at http://bit.ly/gliVkL
  6. Want to save money? Look at your debt. Do you buy food or clothing on credit and take months to pay the bill?  Do you pay only the minimum payment on your credit cards?  Do you have four or five credit cards and sometimes use one to pay another?  If you answered yes to any of these questions, you are using credit unwisely and it’s costing you money. Try to never purchase anything on credit that will be used up before you have paid for it. Food, clothing, and vacations are examples of items that you could be paying for long after they have been consumed.  Try to pay credit card balances in full each month rather than carrying a balance. As you reduce your debt, think savings. Join America Saves and become an American Saver at http://bit.ly/gliVkL
  7. One relatively painless way to save is to automate your savings plan. To do this, simply have your bank or brokerage company take money directly out of your checking account or paycheck and place it into a savings or investment account. For more savings ideas, check out the advice of the America Saves program’s e-wealth coaches: http://bit.ly/hSJnXY. 
  8. Do you have goals or dreams?  A dream is vague like “I want to send my child to a good college,” or “I want to be comfortable in retirement.”  A goal is specific and has dates for beginning and ending.  For example, “By the time my child is 18, I will have $20,000 in college savings.” How do you set a goal?  Write it down answering the questions who, what, when, where, and why.  Since this is YOUR goal, begin your goal statement with “I/We”.  Then, state exactly what you will do to achieve it (e.g., save $4,000 annually in a 529 plan).  Keep re-writing your goals until they are specific.  Then tell other people about them so that there are people to hold you accountable. For more savings ideas, check out America Saves e-wealth coach tips: http://bit.ly/hSJnXY. 
  9. Want to save money? Set some financial goals. Goals provide motivation and a purpose for saving. The more specific a financial goal, the easier it is to determine how much savings is required.  You simply work backwards to break a large goal into smaller pieces,  For example, that $15,000 car in 5 years will require $3,000 in annual savings or about $58 per weekly paycheck ($3,000 divided by 52). Join America Saves and become an American Saver at http://bit.ly/gliVkL.

For more information or to comment on this blog, contact:

  • deborah.killam@maine.edu

Money Management Tips – Day Five

Thursday, February 24th, 2011

America Saves Week – Day Five – Money Management Tips

  1. Ever hear about the Latte Factor™? Every time you don’t have a latte at a coffee shop and a donut at coffee break or don’t spend money in a soda machine, save the money you didn’t spend.  Sometimes we spend small amounts daily without even thinking.  Small things really do add up. Now that you’re motivated to save, become an American Saver at http://bit.ly/gliVkL
  2. Here are two good savings tips. Continue Paying A Loan – If you’re about to pay off a loan, continue making the same monthly payment – to yourself!  Bank A Windfall – Whenever you receive unexpected money – an inheritance, bingo winnings, tax refunds, retroactive pay, etc. – put at least part of it into savings. Become an American Saver at http://bit.ly/gliVkL
  3. An easy way to see how long it will take for your savings to double is called the “Rule of 72.”  The formula doing a calculation is: 72 divided by the interest rate equals the number of years it will take for your money to double.  For example, at an average annual return of 7%, a sum of money will double in about 10 years.  Learn more about saving and investing: http://bit.ly/fWpOBu
  4. Serve smaller food portions.  Not only does this save money, but it is also better for your health.  Currently about 31% of Americans are obese (30 or more pounds over a healthy weight) and about 65% of Americans are either obese or overweight (10 or more pounds over a healthy weight).  Save the money you save on food costs. Become an American Saver at http://bit.ly/gliVkL
  5. Want some great financial advice from some of the nation’s leading financial experts…for free? Seriously, this service really exists and nobody is trying to sell you anything. The America Saves program posts monthly messages from e-wealth coaches about topics related to savings and personal finance. To view what they have to say, see: http://bit.ly/hSJnXY. 
  6. Want to get serious about saving? Follow this four-step process: 1. calculate how much money you need for retirement or other goals (type “financial calculator” into an Internet search engine), 2. plan how to accumulate the money you need, 3. act to implement your plan and save money, and 4. reassess your financial needs and the progress of your plan every year. For more information about saving, visit the America Saves Web site at http://bit.ly/fHbGQy
  7. Make savings an “expense” in your spending plan (budget), just like rent, utility bills, or a car payment.  Automate savings through a credit union or retirement savings plan or through monthly deductions from a bank account to purchase U.S. savings bonds or mutual fund shares. For more information about saving, visit the America Saves Web site at http://bit.ly/fHbGQy
  8. A tax-deferred employer plan (e.g., 401(k), 403(b), etc.) is a good place to save. Contributions are deductible on federal income tax returns (e.g., a worker with a $32,000 salary who makes a $2,000 contribution only pays federal tax on $30,000).  There is also tax-deferred growth of principal and investment earnings and savings is deducted from a worker’s paycheck, before it can be spent. Another advantage is employer matching at many workplaces. This is free money that shouldn’t be passed up. For more saving information, visit the America Saves Web site at http://bit.ly/fHbGQy
  9. If you’re saving in a tax-deferred employer retirement plan, try to save more (e.g., increase from 2% to 4% of pay).  The best time to “kick it up a notch” is when you receive a raise or a household expense (e.g., car loan, child care) ends.  For more savings information, visit http://bit.ly/fWpOBu.

For more information or to comment on this blog, contact:

  • deborah.killam@maine.edu

Money Management Tips – Day Four

Wednesday, February 23rd, 2011

America Saves Week – Day Four – Money Management Tips

  1. Where do most people get the money to invest for future goals?  Some receive lump sums, such as pension distributions, settlements, and inheritances.  A few lucky people win the lottery or some other big prize.  Most people, however, get money to invest the old fashioned way: they earn it and then they save it. Become an American Saver (it’s free and motivational) at http://bit.ly/gliVkL
  2. How do folks find the money to save…and ultimately invest?  By starting small because every dollar counts. Try eliminating things that you can live without and changing spending habits.  An example is brown bagging a lunch to work one or two days a week instead of eating out.  Another is buying 12-packs of soda or bottled water on sale instead of using expensive vending machines. For more savings tips, visit: http://bit.ly/fLuD29. 
  3. Setting goals can provide the motivation needed to reduce spending today in order to save for a secure future tomorrow.  Be specific with a date and a dollar cost.  An example is “save $8,000 for a used car in 4 years.”  Knowing your timeline can help you choose appropriate places to put your money (e.g., CDs for short-term goals and stocks for goals that are 5+ years away).  For more information about saving and investing, see: http://bit.ly/fWpOBu
  4. Take advantage of retirement benefits that your employer offers.  Contributions come right out of your paycheck, making it easy to save.  Some employers also match workers’ contributions twenty-five cents, fifty cents, or even a dollar for every dollar saved.  This is “free money” that should not be missed.  If you change jobs, roll your retirement account over into an IRA or new employer’s plan to maintain its tax-deferred status. For more information, see: http://bit.ly/fWpOBu
  5. Why not celebrate America Saves Week by starting a new savings account or increasing your current level of savings?  For further information and resources to implement a personal savings plan, visit the following Web sites: www.choosetosave.org, and http://bit.ly/fHbGQy
  6. To calculate how much you need to save to achieve a financial goal, divide the amount you need to save by the time (e.g., number of months) you have left to save.  If, for example, you want to save $5,000 by next year, you’ll need to put aside $416.67 ($5,000 divided by 12) a month, or $96.15 ($5,000 divided by 52) a week. Become an American Saver at http://bit.ly/gliVkL
  7. If you’re paid bi-weekly, in two months of each year you will receive three paychecks.  Employees who are paid weekly will receive an “extra” check in four months of each year.  The months vary with each year’s calendar and the day of the week on which you are paid.  Save at least part of this money. Join America Saves and become an American Saver at http://bit.ly/gliVkL
  8. Save the amount of money you don’t spend by using coupons at a supermarket or drug store.  If you save $8 a week using coupons, put the “savings” in a bank or credit union savings account. That’s over $400 a year in “found money”! Now that you’re psyched to save, join America Saves (it’s free and motivational!) and become an American Saver at http://bit.ly/gliVkL
  9. At the end of every week (or more often), empty out your pockets and wallet and put the change in a jar.  Every other week or once a month, deposit the change in your savings account.  Studies show that over three-quarters of Americans have a stash of loose change and over half of Americans add to it regularly. For more savings tips, visit: http://bit.ly/fLuD29.

For more information or to comment on this blog, contact:

  • deborah.killam@maine.edu

Money Management Tips – Day Three

Tuesday, February 22nd, 2011

America Saves Week – Day Three – Money Management Tips

  1. What would you do if you suddenly lost your income? Could you pay your bills and provide for your family’s needs for six months? Consider your liquid assets—or, what you can easily convert to cash. This could include savings accounts, money markets, or CDs. For tips on building your emergency fund, visit http://www.extension.org/pages/Building_an_Emergency_Fund.
  2. How energy efficient is your home? Get tips from the U.S. Department of Energy for conducting a DIY home energy assessment at http://bit.ly/C37Eq. Learn simple tips for evaluating your home for air leaks, insulation, heating/cooling equipment, and lighting. An energy efficient home will save you money on your monthly utility bill. For more savings tips, visit: http://bit.ly/fLuD29.
  3. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, a typical U.S. family spends about $1,900 a year on home utility bills. Unfortunately, much of that energy is wasted. Find out how to conserve energy and save money with a free energy guide: http://www.energysavers.gov/pdfs/energy_savers.pdf. Enroll in America Saves and put your energy savings to work: http://bit.ly/gliVkL.
  4. For money-saving ideas on how to manage your money during tough financial times, visit http://www.extension.org/pages/Controlling_Spending. Learn tips that anyone can use for reducing everyday costs, including food, transportation, medical, leisure, personal, and miscellaneous expenses. Enroll in America Saves and build a reserve fund: http://bit.ly/gliVkL.
  5. Ask a financial planner how people can increase their savings and you’re likely to hear the phrase “pay yourself first.”  This means setting aside money from each paycheck as soon as you earn it, rather than waiting to see what, if anything, is left at the end of the month.  In other words, savings is a top priority in your budget like rent. Become an American Saver at http://bit.ly/gliVkL.
  6. The best way to “pay yourself first” and save money as you earn it is to use some type of automatic deposit plan such as a 401(k) or 403(b) plan, mutual fund automatic investment plan, or checking to savings transfer.  That way, the money is placed into savings before you even miss it. For additional motivation, become an American Saver. Join America Saves at: http://bit.ly/gliVkL.
  7. One household expense where significant savings can often be found is the family food bill. The next time you go food shopping, take a good look at what’s in the cart before checking out.  Are there expensive snacks or convenience foods that you can do without or make yourself?  Are you buying anything that might end up in the garbage because nobody really likes it?  Are you comparing the cost of store and manufacturer’s brands and taking advantage of coupons and special promotions? For more savings tips, visit: http://bit.ly/fLuD29.
  8. It is important to have a reason to save; i.e., one or more specific financial goals (e.g., a new Chevy Cobalt in three years).  Having something in mind as an eventual use for your money will increase your motivation to save. For additional ideas and inspiration, check out the America Saves e-wealth coach Web site at http://bit.ly/hSJnXY. Leading financial experts share tips for better saving.
  9. Want to save 10% of your income? Spend 10% less on variable household expenses such as clothing, gifts, entertainment, personal care, and transportation. Also determine if there are ways to reduce large expenses such as housing (e.g., refinancing mortgage), income taxes (e.g., tax-deferred or tax-free investments), and insurance (e.g., policy discounts).  By combining savings in several expense categories, it may be possible to save 10% of your gross income without feeling deprived.  Also become an American Saver (it’s free and motivational) at http://bit.ly/gliVkL.

For more information or to comment on this blog, contact:

  • deborah.killam@maine.edu

Money Management Tips – Day Two

Monday, February 21st, 2011

America Saves Week – Day Two – Money Management Tips

  1. Indulgences can put a dent in your finances. According to America Saves, one way to establish a savings discipline is to “save” an amount equal to whatever is spent on nonessential indulgences. Put a matching amount in a cookie jar each time you splurge on beer, wine, cigarettes, designer coffee, etc. If you can’t afford to save the matching amount, you can’t afford the $4 super mocha low-fat latte. For more savings tips, visit: http://bit.ly/fLuD29. 
  2. Make a list before you grocery shop—and stick to it.  The America Saves program suggests that people who food shop with a list, and buy little else, spend much less money than those who decide what to buy when they get to the supermarket.  The annual savings could easily be hundreds of dollars. Preplanning pays off. For more savings tips, visit: http://bit.ly/fLuD29. 
  3. Are you a homeowner? If so, it pays to be on the lookout for lower mortgage rates. The America Saves program suggests refinancing your mortgage to lower the interest rate and/or loan term.  You will accumulate home equity more rapidly, thus increasing your ability to cover large emergency expenditures. For more savings tips, visit: http://bit.ly/fLuD29.
  4. Did you know that almost all banking institutions will, on request, automatically transfer funds monthly from your checking account to a savings account, U.S. savings bond, or stock mutual fund? According to America Saves, these savings could provide funds for emergencies, a home purchase, school tuition, or even retirement. For more savings tips, visit: http://bit.ly/fLuD29. 
  5. Want to double your money? Divide the interest rate being earning on your savings into 72 to determine how long it will take. For example, with a 4% average annual return, $1,000 will double to $2,000 in 18 years. For more information about saving and investing topics from eXtension, the Cooperative Extension electronic information network, see http://bit.ly/fWpOBu
  6. Do you participate in a work-related retirement savings program? According to America Saves, many employees turn down “free” money from their employer by not signing up for programs such as a 401(k) plan. If they did participate, with a 50% match, they would likely receive an annual yield of greater than 50% on their investment. Now, that’s a good return on your money!  Sign up for your workplace savings plan and become an American Saver at http://bit.ly/gliVkL
  7. According to America Saves, the best investment most borrowers can make is to pay off consumer debt with double-digit interest. For example, if you have a $3,000 credit card balance at 18%, and pay 3% minimum payments, it will take 14 years to pay it off. Add in accumulating interest, and you will pay $5,625 in interest charges! Become an American Saver at http://bit.ly/gliVkL
  8. Buy a home and pay off the mortgage before you retire. Did you know that the largest asset most middle-income families have is their home equity? According to America Saves, once you make your last mortgage payment, you’ll have far lower housing expenses. You’ll also have an asset that can be borrowed against or converted into cash when sold. For more tips: http://bit.ly/fLuD29.
  9. Money-saving tip from America Saves: Get to know your bank! Take time to research the services your bank provides, such as overdraft protection, online bill-pay, or mobile alerts, which notify you via a text message if your checking account falls below a certain amount. Also, consider going online to get 24-hour access to your accounts. For more savings tips, visit: http://bit.ly/fLuD29.

For more information or to comment on this blog, contact:

  • deborah.killam@maine.edu

Money Management Tips – Day One

Sunday, February 20th, 2011

America Saves Week – Day One – Money Management Tips 

  1. Save your loose change! According to America Saves, saving fifty cents a day over the course of a year will allow you to save nearly 40% of a $500 emergency fund. Remember, small changes equal big savings! For more information, visit http://bit.ly/fHbGQy.
  2. Do you keep track of your spending?  The America Saves program suggests that you review your purchases using credit and debit card receipts, bank statements, and/or online records. Then, ask yourself if you should reallocate some of this spending to an emergency savings account. For more savings tips, visit: http://bit.ly/fLuD29.
  3. Need help establishing a budget? America Saves offers this great tip: Beginning on the first day of a new month, track everything you purchase. Then, review your list at the end of the month. It will be much easier to make a budget once you see where your money is going. For more savings tips, visit: http://bit.ly/fLuD29.
  4. Want to save money? Take advantage of discounts and/or incentive programs provided through your employer. Many companies offer discounted rates for computers, fitness center memberships, movie tickets, hotels, cellular services, and more. Talk to your human resources representative to see what perks your company offers. For more savings tips, visit: http://bit.ly/fLuD29.
  5. Premium coffee drinks are popular but are they really worth the money? Try substituting “regular” coffee for high-cost drinks.  According to America Saves, saving $2 a day by buying coffee rather than a cappuccino or latte would, over a year, allow you to completely fund a $500 emergency fund. So, wake up and smell the coffee! For more savings tips, visit: http://bit.ly/fLuD29.
  6. Did you know that by keeping your car engine tuned and its tires inflated to their proper pressure, you could save up to $100 a year in gas? Find out more about this and other money-saving tips from America Saves at http://bit.ly/fLuD29. Become an American Saver (it’s free and motivational) at http://bit.ly/gliVkL.
  7. Here’s a money-saving challenge: give up premium cable channels. According to America Saves, it’s much cheaper to rent one film a week than to watch one on premium cable channels that may cost more than $500 a year. Also, take advantage of $1 movie kiosks that are in stores you frequent often. Become an American Saver (along with over 226,000 others!) at http://bit.ly/gliVkL.
  8. Do you know how much money is in your bank account? America Saves urges you to avoid overdraft fees by keeping track of your spending.  The $20-40 you could save monthly by not bouncing checks or overdrawing your account could equal enough money to nearly fully fund a $500 emergency savings account. For more savings tips, visit: http://bit.ly/fLuD29.
  9. Are you an impulse shopper? The America Saves program urges consumers to never purchase expensive items on impulse.  Instead, think over each expensive purchase for at least 24 hours.  Acting on this principle will help you have far fewer regrets about impulse purchases, and far more money for emergency savings. For more savings tips, visit: http://bit.ly/fLuD29.

For more information or to comment on this blog, contact:

  • deborah.killam@maine.edu

Money Management Tips for America Saves Week

Friday, February 18th, 2011

In celebration of America Saves Week 2011

Money Management Tips will be posted from February 20 through February 27, 2011

For eight days, from February 20 through February 27, money management tips will be posted to this blog. This social media project was initiated by the eXtension Financial Security for All (FSA) Community of Practice (CoP) in support of America Saves Week (ASW) 2011. The goal is to promote saving and enrollment in America Saves. The project involves the distribution of blog posts, tweets and Facebook messages about money management tips and America Saves Week to participating Extension educators throughout the country. The educators will then disseminate the messages through various social media or other traditional media outlets. Each message will contain shortened links (e.g., bit.ly) to online Cooperative Extension and America Saves information about saving money and ASW.

Some Key bit.ly URLs [shortened URL addresses] will be visited throughout the week.  The URLs include:

For more information or to comment on this blog, contact:

  • deborah.killam@maine.edu