Military Saves Blog
Tips, advice, and the latest news from the savings world.
Are you struggling with credit card debt? If so, you’re not alone. Paying off credit cards and other higher interest debt is one of the most common goals that people try to save for. Unfortunately, having to pay off a large amount of debt with ridiculously high interest rates can make you feel hopeless, especially if your budget is already stretched. But it turns out that you don’t necessarily need to make huge sacrifices to become debt free much sooner than you may have thought was possible.
Let’s take a look at an example. Suppose you have 4 credit cards. One has a balance of $1,800 at 19.8%. The second has a balance of 1,500 at 16.99%. The third has a $1,100 balance at 16.7%. The last has a balance of $1,000 at 5.9%. If you just make the minimum payments, it would take over 30 years to pay all that off! Sounds pretty discouraging for someone on a tight budget, huh?
July 23, 2012
By Lila Quintiliani, AFC®
Military Saves Assistant Coordinator
To many people, a budget seems very much like a restrictive diet, with all the negative implications involved. People don’t want to make what seems like unpleasant sacrifices in the here and now just to ensure a comfortable, but nebulous, future. But I like to flip that notion on its head: I like to think about what I’d specifically like to accomplish (Set a Goal!) and then what I am willing to give up to get there (Make a Plan). It’s a delicate balancing act, but it’s one that most successful savers have learned to do, whether consciously or not.
Here is my own personal list of things I am willing to give up (and some I’m not!) in order to build up our new car fund:
July 19, 2012
By Dylan Tansy, America Saves Intern
When people sign up to become savers with America Saves, one of the first things we ask of people is to set a goal and tell us what it is. Having a concrete tangible goal is one of the best ways to maintain motivation, keep perspective, and measure progress. Roughly one in six people that have committed to start saving with America Saves have chosen “paying off consumer debts” as their top financial goal. This is not surprising as approximately 45% of families earning less than $50,000 a year rely on credit for basic needs. While this figure may be disheartening, the truth is that anyone can work toward becoming debt free. Here are five basic pieces of advice that you need to follow if you are serious about taking control of your money:
- Stop borrowing – The bottom line is that your debt will never go away if you are always adding to it. There may be times when you have no other choice but to rely on credit, but you should avoid a revolving balance. Compounding interest will increase how much you owe in the long run and keep you in debt longer. You need to either cut up your credit cards, or hide them from yourself.
Contributing to the TSP: A Few Simple Steps
by Miriam Darden Settles, CFP®
Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board
You’ve heard about the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP), but are you still sitting on the sidelines not contributing? If so, what are you waiting for? Don’t miss out on the opportunity to save for your retirement with what is widely regarded as one of the finest retirement savings plans in the world. The sooner you start, the sooner you’ll be able to reap the rewards of participation.
By Lila Quintiliani, AFC©
Assistant Coordinator, Military Saves
Just about everyone I talk to is interested in saving money. Yet very few people are familiar with their own credit report or know their credit score. Why is this such a paradox? It’s because your credit history can determine how much you pay for your house, car, insurance, utility deposit…the list goes on and on. And aside from that, it can also affect your security clearance, your job prospects and even where you live. Everywhere you go, institutions and individuals will be looking at your credit history and judging you on it, so your best bet is to know what’s in your own report.