Posts Tagged ‘savings’

How and Why to Start a Savings Account

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2009

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Put your money where the bank is.


Get that cash out from under your mattress and your bra is not a good hiding spot. I’ve seen some funny and innovative places that people have hidden their cash but none of those places is safer than the bank. Does your mattress doesn’t pay you to put money under it? Well a bank does.

First things first, you want to find the bank that’s for you. If you’re a walk-in type of person, you’ll want a bank that has a branch in your area. If you’re internet savvy, you might want a bank where you can control everything online. Interest rate is also a big factor you should take into consideration when choosing a bank. The higher the interest rate, the more money you will make putting your money in that bank. Some banks require or “suggest” you start your account with a certain amount. This could be anywhere from $500 to $5000 to much more. Some suggest you keep a certain minimum balance your account. These are all things you want to know before you start putting your money anywhere and before you sign anything!

Next you should decide if you’re saving towards a purpose (like a home or car) or just to save for your future. Something like this can make a difference to the banker when you go to open your account. Decide on an amount from every paycheck that will go into your account automatically. Try not to deviate from this amount. A general rule is 10% of the money you bring in. You could also set up a change jar and save up extra change and dollars in between paychecks. You’ll be AMAZED how much change adds up. Once you’ve chosen your bank and you’re familiar with that bank’s practices, policies and interest rate go ahead and sign up. If you do this online you may have to send in a form with your signature or some official documents.

Why in the world would you want to start a savings account to begin with? Isn’t a checking account enough? Isn’t my pocket enough? Well, to tell the truth, the easier the access you have to your money, the more likely you are to spend it. That’s just a simple fact. You need to have some backup money that you have access to but that isn’t the easiest, first route you go through to pay for something. You need a savings account to save for an emergency. In case your car breaks down or you have something unexpected comes up from across the country. You don’t want to have to pull out a credit card if you don’t have to. Save for retirement, save for college, save up for a vacation. No matter what it’s for, even just a rainy day, even just a dollar here and there, SAVE your money. You’ll thank me later.

Thrifty or “Green”?

Sunday, December 21st, 2008

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greenFirst of all, I must confess. I try my best to save a dollar wherever I can. I clip coupons every Sunday. Shop when my local grocer offers double and triple coupons, try to eat out less, but the generic peanut butter, and lower my thermostat by a few degrees to save costs on heating. But has anyone other than me noticed lately how all of a sudden being cheap thrifty, can become trendy, if we call it “going green”?  I mean, have you heard some of the latest trends? Dumpster diving? You’ve got to be kidding me right? Thrift Stores are no back in style? Reusing another person’s trash has become a phenomenal feat because there’s less waste in the landfill.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not against doing what’s good for the planet. I recycle my cans, my paper, my plastic and basically anything that my local municipality allows. I even have my own garden to grow vegetables free of pesticides. I switched my lightbulbs out for ones that supposedly use less energy and I’ve even stopped using the plastic bags at the grocery store when it’s not necessary. And while I accept that the days of just throwing everything away to end up in a landfill are over, I cannot help but wonder why there are those among us who seem to be taking this whole “green” thing to the extreme. However, it’s illegal to be caught digging through a dumpster. Besides, who knows what you could stumble upon in one of those smelly things!

This brings me to my next thought, is it possible that times have gotten so bad in the midst of our economy that ordinary working folks are actually being forced to search for items in the dumpster in order to make ends meet? I don’t want to seem insensitive as I know there are many Americans among us who have been forced out of their jobs through lay-offs and cutbacks and I sincerely offer them my condolences to them. I know that there are many others who have lost their homes due to foreclosure and again, I sympathize with this awful situation. Yet I cannot understand what motives other than sheer desperation would force someone who has a seemingly ordinary life with a job and a home and a family to search for their next meal in a dumpster.  Again, I don’t mean to sound insensitive as I know there are those who cannot afford to put food on the table and warm clothes on the backs of their family, but from the stories I’ve read online, many Americans are turning by night into dumpster diving savages! When asked why, they say they’re doing our planet a favor and keeping “perfectly good items” out of the landfill.

So my question to readers is: what’s driving perfectly sane people to jump inside of dumpsters? Is it really because they feel that their doing so is going to make the planet better for our children? Or is there another motive below the surface? Perhaps it curiosity of the unknown and bringing out their inner treasure-hunter. I’m eager to hear your thoughts. 

How to find your own hidden money?

Tuesday, December 16th, 2008

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hidden moneyDid you ever think that you might be able to find hidden money right under your own nose? What would you do with an extra $1,000-$1,500 per year?

America is all about convenience, but how much is “convenience” costing you? Little indulgences you enjoy on a daily basis might be putting a bigger strain than you realize on your wallet.  Here’s how to add an easy $1,000 to your bank account:

Skip the Starbucks: (okay, you can still have it on special occasions) But seriously, coffee you make yourself is nearly free in comparison to the high priced lattes. Skipping the expensive name even just one time a week can put an extra $200 per year right in your pocket!

Eat out less: I know it’s cliché, but the truth is, spending $5 a day on lunch at McDonalds really adds up. By bringing your lunch, it’s possible to eat for around $1.00 a day. If you work 200 days per year, this results in a savings of $600 per year right into your wallet! Not to mention the added health benefits by skipping the fattening fast foods!

No more bottled water: Not only is it bad for the environment, bottled waters costs $1 a pop or more. By installing a filter for your tap, you can save over $200 per year!

Get a library card: A new novel costs around $30 in the bookstore and can be bought in a used bookstore for $5 to $10. If you read a couple books a month, go to the library and check them out for free. Total savings of $500 per year or more!

Drink wine at home instead of the restaurant: You can usually buy the same bottle of wine for what restaurants/bars charge for the glass. Enjoy it in the comfort of your own home with friends and family and save big!

Clip Coupons: Coupons are easy to clip and many people are able to save big bucks by strategically using coupons for things they already buy. While savings will vary by the time you invest, simple changes like shopping on days when your local grocery store offers double and triple coupons can mean big bucks back in your pocket.

Save on Dry Cleaning: While some articles of clothing must be dry cleaned, the truth is, not everything has to be. Use your good judgment to determine what can really be washed at home. Another option is to wear things more than once before having them cleaned. Many people who work in an office don’t dirty clothing with just one wear. If a clothing article isn’t really dirty, why have it laundered at the price of several dollars per item?

There are many other ways to take a look at little indulgences that really aren’t necessary. Take a look at your weekly spending to determine what unnecessary spending you can cut back by keeping a log of all your expenses for at least one week and then evaluating what you really need versus what is a nice to have. You can thank yourself for your “sacrifices” by rewarding yourself in a year with a fantastic vacation or a great pair of shoes fully paid for by your savings!!