Make a Plan: Three Pieces of Advice...From the "Street Level"

By Rob Izzo, Business Operations Analyst, CIP
Navy Federal Credit Union

From my experience, saving money is not a topic spoken about at dinner parties or social gatherings.  In fact, the subject for some people is boring, awkward and, at times, intrusive.

Saving money is covered in many newspaper articles, financial magazines and television commentaries.  We are exposed to it every day of our lives.  So, with that in mind, I decided to take a "street level" approach to this article.  I interviewed people I knew who would feel comfortable speaking freely about saving money and who were at different life stages.  A real life examination, you could say.

I asked three different people at three different stages of life to provide me three pieces of advice for saving money.  What do they do to save money, if even a little bit at a time?  What is their approach?  Their answers and perspective might surprise you.  Here's what I discovered:

Eugene, Age 87, United States Marine Corps (Retired)

Three pieces of advice:
1.Plan before you spend
·    Avoid impulse buying and stick with the three "Ps" (Prior Planning Pays)
·    Before you go to the grocery store, make a list and stick to it
·    Think of coupons as cash  (He saved $1,300 at one grocery store chain in 2011)

2.Don't try to keep up with "the Jones."
A used car serves the same purpose as a new car.

3.Build positive relationships with repeat service providers.
Knowing a handyman, auto mechanic and electrician can cut you a financial break and save you money each and every time.

Nancy, Age 61, Housewife and Jeweler, plans to retire in three years

Three pieces of advice:
1.NEVER buy an item that's not on sale.
Playing the waiting game takes discipline, but it pays off.

2. Buy in bulk as much as possible.
·    Membership warehouse clubs help out a lot
·    Stick with non-perishable items
3.Make one extra house payment each year.
This approach can save you a considerable amount of money in interest!

Scott, Age 34, Nuclear Engineer, still some ways away from retirement

Three pieces of advice:
1. Separate your savings account -- have an account that is not linked to your checking account
·    Set up an "automatic" transfer of a small, unnoticeable amount each paycheck
·    $30 per paycheck ends up at $780 for the year

2.  Utilize "Niche" banking products
·    Programs that help you save without you noticing
·    Products that reward you with cash or rebates

3. Have a "conscious" change jar.
Don't just throw money in a jar and not think about what's behind it.  "Consciously" put away the money.  Think about: Would you have spent the money on eating out? Buying a toy for your child? Going to the movies?

As you can see, a person can learn quite a lot from different people in different life stages.  Their methods work for them and you may consider applying their tactics to your own regimen. They might just work for you.

And one last note to end on: "It never hurts to ask."  This rule even applies to the financial institution where you have your savings and checking accounts.  Many banks and credit unions strive to become your one stop shop and have products designed with small savers in mind.  Outside of their standard line of savings products, they also offer niche products, insurance, retirement and brokerage services that you can take advantage of with little or no money up front.  Remember, we all have to start somewhere, even if it's at "street level."

Want more saving tips and ideas for reducing debt?  Take the Military Saves Pledge today and receive e-newsletters, information and inspiration to help you on your journey to financial freedom!

Tip of the Day

  • Written by Guest Blogger | February 11, 2014

    #Save just 1% of your income this year and grow $250-$500 in savings by the end of the year depending on your salary:

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