Military Saves Blog

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Tips, advice, and the latest news from the savings world.

It's Time for a Check-Up: Carefully Check Your Post-Holiday Credit Card Statements

Credit Cards Consumer Protection Fraud
Written by Super User · 15 January 2013

January 15, 2013
by Lila Quintiliani, AFC®
Military Saves Assistant Coordinator
Communication & Outreach

During the holiday rush and the excitement of the New Year, it can be easy to simply skim over your bills.  But the Better Business Bureau is cautioning that consumers should scrutinize their post-holiday credit card statements carefully for fraudulent charges and other errors.  Online shopping was up an estimated 12% this past holiday season, increasing the risk for release of private information and phishing, but consumers at brick and mortar establishments can also become the victims of credit card fraud.

Here are some things you can do to protect yourself:

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7 Simple Savings Strategies

Saving Spending
Written by Super User · 10 January 2013

January 10, 2013
By Rebecca White
AFC® Candidate
FINRA Military Spouse Fellow

I don’t know about you, but when I research savings I find information on everything we should be doing: setting goals, budgeting, putting our savings on auto, cutting back on spending, clipping coupons, etc. Knowing what we should do and actually doing them, though, are two different things.  So, which strategies will actually help us save? Here are seven simple ideas for saving.  Hopefully one (or more!) will work for you.

1.    That’s How Many Hours?

Every time you go to buy something ask yourself: “Is it worth it the hourly rate?” To calculate this rate divide your take home pay by the hours worked in that pay period.  If your household has multiple incomes, use the lowest paying one. You want this to be easy math, so if you come up with $9.76, round up to $10.
Then when you’re spending money, use this trick to consider if it is worth the hourly rate you calculated. For instance: A $60 dinner would be 6 hours of work if you had calculated a rate of $10 an hour. Is just one dinner worth 6 hours of work?

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Do You Know the True Cost of Debt?

Debt Credit Cards Security Clearance
Written by Super User · 09 January 2013

January 9, 2013
By Lila Quintiliani, AFC®
Military Saves Assistant Coordinator
Communication & Outreach


Americans have a lot of credit card debt.  $852 billion dollars of it, as a matter of fact.  A 2010 FINRA study of military families found that nearly 30% of those surveyed had at least $10,000 in credit card debt.  Most households don’t even know how much their total debt is, and it’s very easy to fall into a pattern of just paying the minimum payment each month.  But that may be because it can be difficult to understand the true cost of debt.

Credit Card Interest and Fees

When a credit card is not paid in full each month, the interest fees and finance charges start to add up.  What those items at the register actually end up costing might be vastly different than the original price tag.  But there are sites like Bankrate.com, which has a calculator that figures out the true cost of paying only the minimum payment.   Before making a large purchase on credit, like a computer or a 3D TV, it might be useful to know what one will end up paying for an item.  For instance, a new 64Gb Retina display iPad, which lists for $699, will end up costing a whopping $1171 when you factor in price plus interest and will take almost 6 ½ years to pay off.  Given the life of electronics these days, will you still own it when you’re done paying it off?

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The National Resource Directory: a Place Where Veterans and Military Families Can Find Information on Everything

Benefits
Written by Super User · 08 January 2013

January, 8, 2013
by Lila Quintiliani, AFC®
Military Saves Assistant Coordinator
Communication & Outreach

The Departments of Defense, Labor and Veterans Affairs have partnered together to create a website that is a great resource for servicemembers, veterans, and their families and caregivers.  Known as the National Resource Directory, the site provides access to resources at the local, state and federal levels.  While the goal is to support recovery, rehabilitation and community reintegration, one can find information on a variety of topics including: benefits and compensation, education, training, employment, family and caregiver support, housing, health and homeless assistance.  Here are highlights of some of the topics that pertain to personal finance:

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Kickstart Your Savings: Have a Plan for Your Refund

Debt Saving Tax Refund
Written by Super User · 03 January 2013

January 3, 2013
By Lila Quintiliani, AFC®
Military Saves Assistant Coordinator
Communication and Outreach

About 80% of Americans got some sort of tax refund last year. According to a 2012 survey by the National Retail Foundation, 4 out of 10 Americans planned on using their return to pay down debt.  28.7% planned on using it for everyday expenses while over 33% were going to use it as “free money” to spend on a large purchase, such as a car or a vacation.  But by far the best idea is to have a concrete plan for your tax refund

The 30-40-30 Plan
One way you can look at dividing up your return is called the 30-40-30 Plan.  Using this plan, you take 30% of your refund and pay down debt.  You use 40% of your refund toward current needs (and this might include some discretionary spending).  Then you use the final 30% toward savings, whether that’s to build up your emergency fund or for longer-term savings.  If you have at least $500-$1000 in your emergency fund you can consider other savings goals, such as using a portion of your return to buy bonds or allocating more money to your retirement or college savings account.

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Tip of the Day

  • Written by Katie Bryan | November 29, 2013

    Transferring #money from #checking to #savings is the fastest way to #save $500 - $1,000 >> http://ow.ly/e7ClM

Saver Stories View all »

Involving Kids in Family Finances

Written by | April 19, 2019

 

One of the best lessons we can share with our kids is about money. By middle school, kids should have a good understanding of how money works as well as the importance of saving.

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When You Start Small, Saving is Easy

Written by Lila Quintiliani | August 12, 2019

When Attiyya first got married, she and her Marine husband had just graduated from college and were focused on paying off student loan debt. They had both attended private schools and had sizeable loans. Then three months after the wedding, the couple found out they were pregnant with their first child.

The first year of their marriage, says Attiyya, was a balancing act between paying down debt and saving for the future.

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Setting a Goal Leads to Success

Written by Super User | May 24, 2019

Growing up, Marisa’s dad had always talked about saving first, but she said she didn’t really internalize it until much later. “I was drifting along with no plan, carrying a little bit of revolving debt, saving some money here and there, but without a real plan for it.”

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