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

Cheap Thrills... Finding Fun Things to Do for Little or No Dough

Summer Savings
Written by · 23 May 2012

by Lila Quintiliani, AFC®

Military Saves Assistant Coordinator

My husband and I were just discussing how when we were younger and more foolish, we somehow managed to spend our weekends frittering away money on movies, restaurants, bars and coffee shops.  Fast forward and we have two kids, a mortgage and are trying to save for retirement and college at the same time.  Our “B.K.” (Before Kids) lifestyle has gone the way of the dinosaurs, and now I’m always looking for something that we can do that isn’t going to break the budget.

Fortunately for us, there are quite a few options out there for military folks to have some inexpensive fun, and this past week, the National Parks Service upped the ante by announcing that service members and their dependents can get a free military pass that allows entrance to not only national parks, but also sites managed by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, the Bureau of Land Management, the Bureau of Reclamation and the U.S. Forest Service.

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Credit Score Quiz. Will You Pass?

Credit Score Credit Report
Written by Super User · 18 May 2012

Credit Score Quiz.  Will you pass?

By Andia Dinesen, AFC ®
Military Saves Coordinator

I had always considered myself fairly well-versed in financial matters, however when I began working toward my certification as a financial counselor two years ago, I really began to realize what I didn’t know.  Credit score and credit history were two areas that, I have to admit, I really didn’t understand.  I suppose I understood the basics.  I knew that if I missed a payment on a loan or had a huge amount of debt that it definitely affected my score; knowing more than that really didn’t seem to matter (at the time).  Then I learned more; and now I wish I knew long ago that it really does matter.  That is, if you like paying thousands of dollars less for a car, a home, and insurance.  Or if you want to have an easier time getting a job, renting an apartment or hooking up your utilities.  That is what I love about www.CreditScoreQuiz.org.  I wish I could go back in time and take the Quiz two years ago and compare my scores.  Today, I rocked it. Okay, to be honest I still missed two questions, which only proves I have more to learn!

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Feeling Stressed? Help is at Hand

Financial Planning
Written by Guest Blogger · 16 May 2012

by Lila Quintiliani, AFC®

Blue Star Families just released its 2012 Military Family Lifestyle Survey Report.  While the survey has tons of significant feedback on important topics such as military pay and benefits, children and deployment, and spousal employment, the thing that caught my eye is that 68% of respondents said they experience financial stress.  Meanwhile, only 34% said that their unit provided financial education and that they knew where to find answers to their questions.  Wow!  That’s troubling.  And I can’t help but feel that while there are some individual units out there that may be lacking when it comes to educating service members and families, there is DEFINITELY help out there, if you know where to go to find it.

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Pain in the FAFSA

College Education
Written by · 14 May 2012

Planning for College Doesn't have to be a Pain in the FAFSA* - New Government Tool Helps Military Families Plan for College

By Sean Naron
Administrative and Advocacy Associate at Consumer Federation of America (and recent College Graduate)

College is expensive. Really expensive.  The cost of tuition, board, books (and beer) seems to go up every year and between loans, grants, work study, and the other myriad forms of financial aid (including the dreaded on-campus job), it can nearly impossible to figure out what you will owe for four years of fun higher education.

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Get Sweaty

Savings Tips
Written by Super User · 10 May 2012

Get Sweaty: Do Sweat the Small Stuff and Find Out How Much You Can Save!

By Lila Quintiliani, AFC
Military Saves Assistant Coordinator

A while ago I read a personal finance article, and the gist of it was “don’t sweat the small stuff.”  That people needed to pay attention to saving on big ticket items, like houses, cars, rent, and so on and to stop wasting their time nit picking over the minute details of their spending.  Well, I couldn’t disagree more.  I think most people get into difficulties because they don’t pay sufficient attention to what they are spending their money on daily.  They are literally nickling and diming themselves into financial difficulties.

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Tip of the Day

  • Written by Guest Blogger | September 30, 2014

    Participate in the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) - a retirement savings and investment plan for Federal employees and members of the Uniformed Services. It offers the same types of savings and tax benefits that many private corporations offer their employees under 401(k) plans. More info at tsp.gov

Saver Stories View all »

Making Saving Automatic Leads to Personal Success

Written by Lila Quintiliani | May 27, 2020

Ryan’s savings journey started when he was an active duty airman. Frequent deployments and temporary duty assignments gave him the opportunity to save. By the time he transitioned out of active duty, he had built up a healthy rainy-day fund and had started to aggressively save for retirement.

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How Smart Financial Decisions Can Create Opportunities 

Written by | November 22, 2019

Written by Stephen Ross, America Saves Program Coordinator | November 22, 2019

Of the many stories Military Saves shares, most describe how someone was in dire straits financially and worked their way out of it with the help of Military Saves. This time we want to highlight a different kind of story. This is a story about how responsible financial decisions can build on one another to create opportunities you thought only the super-rich enjoy.

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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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