Military Saves Blog
Tips, advice, and the latest news from the savings world.
October 18, 2012
by Allyson Dennen, MC, AFC
Have you begun to think about holiday spending yet? Whether you have or not, the retailers definitely are! They are strategizing how to gain your money, and as much of it as possible. If you noticed an aisle or two of holiday items appearing even before the Halloween candy had been stocked, then you’ll realize retailers are already attempting to lengthen the holiday season this year. Several stores, including the Exchange, have rolled out special Layaway Plans for the holidays. While layaway can be a great addition to your holiday spending plan, you will have to make sure you understand the details before you commit to it.
Some retailers are offering layaway with no upfront fees, while others will refund the upfront fee, but only in the form of a gift card, after you pay in full. Some are even advertising no cancellation fees. If your desire is to be control your holiday spending and keep from increasing credit card debt, these layaway deals may be tempting. There are several things to consider, however, when deciding if this is a good way to purchase gifts:
By Sean Naron
Administrative and Advocacy Associate, Consumer Federation of America
Born in the fall of 1989, I am considered a member of the “Millennial Generation.” Millennials are often described as possessing an assortment of distinct character traits, the majority of which are not exactly positive. We have been labeled as narcissistic, a generation of multitaskers obsessed with online profiles (or online anything really), and have been dubbed the “instant gratification generation.”
While the jury is still out to how true all these labels are, a new study has shown that one commonly held idea about millennials is very accurate: too many of us hope to rely on our parents for financial support. A survey conducted by TD Ameritrade (via USA Today) found that 40 percent of teenagers and young adults between the ages of 13-22 believe their parents will leave them a sizeable inheritance.
Only 16% of parents said that they expect to provide an inheritance for their children.
So, fellow millennials, listen up: as much as we would like it to be true, we can’t bank on receiving an inheritance from Mom and Dad. We need to save for our own retirement.
October 16, 2012
by Lila Quintiliani, AFC®
Military Saves Assistant Coordinator
Saving money regularly can seem daunting at first, especially if it seems like you don’t have a great deal of money left over at the end of the month after all the bills have been paid. Without savings, however, even the smallest mishap, such as an automobile repair, can become a major financial disaster. So what is the best way to start?
6 Tips to Get a Handle on Debt
October 11, 2012
Originally published on USAA.com
The federal government's search for a solution to its mounting debt burden continues to dominate the news. It also has prompted many Americans to scrutinize their own budgets.
A Dose of Reality
"The nation's debt situation has been a good wake-up call," says Scott Halliwell, a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ practitioner at USAA. He says nearly a third of the questions he receives from members in Ask USAA with Scott Halliwell are about credit or debt. His message is simple: Just because you can borrow money doesn't mean you should.
"Live your life in a way that minimizes your need to take on debt. That means living on less than you make and — when debt is necessary — using less of it than lenders are willing to give you," says Halliwell.
That's something USAA member Nikki Tracht learned the hard way. Just seven months ago, her family's debt had climbed to nearly $350,000 — not counting the family’s home mortgage. So she and her husband sat down and created their first budget ever.
"We've been married almost 10 years, but we had never made a point of figuring out where our money was going," Tracht admits.
But they didn't just make a budget, they stuck to it. And after just seven months and the sale of an unprofitable rental home, the couple's debt is down to $131,000. And with more than $30,000 of their personal debt paid down since last October, their "debt ceiling" continues to fall.
Unconventional Ways to Save $200 or More in a Month
October 10, 2012
by Aaron, writer for ThreeThriftyGuys.com - a personal finance site devoted to helping folks keep a few more bucks in their pocket. You can also follow them on Twitter (@3thriftyguys) and Facebook.
Let’s face it – it’s really hard to save money when the bills are piling up and you feel like you’re just living paycheck to paycheck. So, what are some ways you can save that are a little more unconventional, but will get you some positive cash reserves?
Here are a few things that I like to employ to help me save money each month: