Military Saves Blog
Tips, advice, and the latest news from the savings world.
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:
67% of Middle Class Reports Making Really Bad Financial Decisions
October 4, 2012
By Katie Bryan, America Saves Communications Manager
Last week the Consumer Federation of America and Primerica found that two-thirds of middle class Americans acknowledge having made financial mistakes, often costly ones.
The new report also concluded that the financial condition of most middle class families is challenging. For example, in 2010 the typical middle class family had financial assets of $27,300 – including retirement savings but not pensions – which was 28 percent less than the $37,800 held in 2007.
Teaching Children to Save
My three year old daughter was recently introduced to the concept of money. At a basic level, she understands that “daddy works so we can have money to buy things.” She also understands that we have to pay before we can leave the store with our goods. But that is the extent of her understanding of money.
At its core, money is an abstract concept that can be difficult for children to grasp. That is why it is important to start teaching children about money when they are young. It’s also a good idea to lead by example.
My wife and I already took the important step of starting a savings account for her, and we also opened a 529 college savings plan in her name. These will be important when she reaches college age. But what we teach her between now and then will be even more important than the amount of money we are able to set aside. If we can teach her how to better understand and manage money, then we are giving her a life skill she will take with her when she leaves our home and enters the real world where she will have to rely on her own decision making to get by.