Military Saves Week begins next month and when you take the pledge, it will be good to have an idea of what to save. However, along with knowing what to save for, comes figuring out how to save. Fortunately there are tools to help!
Military Saves Week, is an annual opportunity for installations and organizations to promote good savings behavior, and a chance for servicemembers and their families to assess their own saving status. Typically hundreds of organizations participate in the Military Savings Week, reaching millions of people.
With new goals, you need a strategy to make those goals become reality and knowing how to assess your financial status is just as important. Military Saves and America Saves, both campaigns of the Consumer Federation of America, offer many resources that can help. Both promote the SMART Rule as a strategy to help set objectives for financial decisions. The Financial Saver Checklist, a new tool created by America Saves, is made up of successful saving characteristics, which include debt management, establishing an emergency fund, etc. Both tools can help you to navigate a successful financial strategy for your Military Saves Week goals and your financial plans throughout the year.
Assessing Your Financial Status with the Financial Saver Checklist
In November of last year, America Saves released the Saver Checklist tool to allow Americans to quickly assess their savings effectiveness. The checklist can serve as a useful starting point for evaluating how to prepare to save. The Saver Checklist contains 15 “savings accomplishments” range from successful debt management and saving for emergencies and retirement, to saving automatically and building home equity. The Checklist is a helpful in not only evaluating your savings behavior, but it also provides motivating information about each of the 15 savings accomplishments. When you sign up for Military Saves Week, make sure to complete the Saver Checklist to help guide you in setting your financial goals.
The SMART Rule
The SMART Rule is based on the theory that all major decisions should include four elements: decisions should be Specific, Measurable, Attainable and Realistic. This strategy works well in just about any situation, including making financial decisions; from making large purchases like a home or car, or for more routine financial decisions, such as setting a holiday budget or monthly spending plan.
For example, if you take the Military Saves pledge and pledge to save for a car, before making a purchase you want to make sure to ask yourself the following questions:
Specific: Do I want to buy a new or used car?
Measurable: How much can I afford to spend on a car?
Attainable: Is the type of car I need available?
Realistic: Can I buy this car on my current salary?
Timely: Do I really need a car right now or can this purchase wait?
Make sure to ask yourself these questions, and you will be of to a good start in figuring out how to go about purchasing a car. It may take some research to get the answers to these questions, but you will be better off in the long run because you not only set a goal, you made a plan, and in the end you will save!
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