Personal Financial Management
Newsletter Volume 5, Issue 13
Dear Friends of Extension,
In this issue:
This newsletter has only one topic: Saving on a Tight
Saving! Over the past several years, Budget
Americans have not saved enough.
Trends indicate that we are trying to Money Manage-
save more in 2010. Whether you’re
saving for a long-term goal, emer-
gency savings, vacation, or for other reasons, every-
one needs to put money aside from each paycheck for
“The art is not in making
Enjoy my newsletter and try some of the suggestions money, but keeping it.”
included. I serve Blount, Cullman, Jefferson, St. Clair, Proverb quote
Shelby, and Walker counties. Feel free to contact me
on my cell phone at 205-612-4066 or you can e-mail
Until next time,
We’re on the
web! Visit us
Regional Extension Agent at:
Consumer Science and Personal www.aces.edu
ALABAMA A&M AND AUBURN UNIVERSITIES, AND TUSKEGEE UNIVERSITY, COUNTY GOVERNING BODIES AND USDA COOPERATING
The Alabama Cooperative Extension System offers educational programs, materials, and equal opportunity employment
to all people without regard to race, color, national origin, religion, sex, age, veteran status, or disability.
Saving on a Tight Budget
H ow can those who currently are not saving afford to save money? In addition, how
can those saving only a little save more? Here are our top ten tips for saving money
when budgets are tight.
Cut spending painlessly
Tip 1: To find small savings that add up to big savings over time, keep a careful record of all
(and we mean all) of your expenditures for a month. You may be surprised to learn how
much you are spending on such things as a daily latte or restaurant meals.
Tip 2: For necessary purchases — such as food and transportation and insurance — com-
parison shop. The Consumer Literacy Consortium (www.66ways.org) provides good advice
from leading consumer experts on how to save money purchasing 28 types of major products.
Tip 3: Restrain spending for birthdays and holidays. A few well-chosen gifts are likely to be
more appreciated than a more costly pile of gifts chosen thoughtlessly in a shopping mall
Reduce high-cost debt
Tip 4: Payday loans typically charge interest
rates of 500 percent, and the interest rate on
credit card debts can run 25 percent. You can
save hundreds, perhaps thousands, of dollars
a year by paying off these high-cost debts. For
help, contact a credible non-profit credit-
Tip 5: Build an emergency fund to avoid hav-
ing to take loans to pay for unexpected pur-
chases. That fund is usually best kept in a
savings account, despite the low interest rates such accounts pay right now. Try to keep a
high enough balance in the account to avoid monthly fees.
Tip 6: Ask your bank or credit union to automatically transfer funds each month from your
checking to your savings account. Even as little as $10 or $15 a month helps.
Tip 7: Put all your loose change in this savings
Need Free Tax Preparation? account. For many people, that could add up to
Call 211 for the site location well over $100 a year.
Volume 5, Issue 13 Personal Financial Newsletter Page 2
Saving on a Tight Budget (cont.)
Take free money and save it
Tip 8: Low- and moderate-income workers qualify, each year, for an Earned Income Tax
Credit (EITC) that can put over $1,000, and often more than $2,000, in your pocket. IRS Pub-
lication 596 explains how to apply, or you can contact your local taxpayer assistance center
for in-person help. Be sure to save at least half of this windfall.
Tip 9: Participate in a local Investment Development Account (IDA) program. In return for
attending financial education sessions and agreeing to save for a home, education, or busi-
ness, you typically receive $2 for every $1 you save through an IDA program. For instance,
by participating with just $25 each month ends up as $900 at the end of a year. Dial 211 to
find out how to open your IDA account.
Tip 10: If your employer matches retirement savings contributions, be sure to take advantage
of that. Some employers match up to 100 percent of your contributions. While we encourage
letting this money build up until retirement, it can be withdrawn, or borrowed on, to cope with
Retrieved December 19, 2009
Stop by your local Extension office and pick up a Money Management Calendar
This FREE calendar is a great tool for those working on setting up a household
budget, tracking expenses, and more!
Volume 5, Issue 13 Personal Financial Newsletter Page 3
New Year’s Resolution: SAVE MONEY
W ith the new year here, many of us look back on the past months and find things
we’d like to improve. We create resolutions for ourselves to set the course for a
happy, healthy new year. Often, one of those resolutions is to save money. This can prove to
be difficult, but free assistance is available to arm you with the right tools to get on track. Be-
come an Alabama Saver!
What is Alabama Saves? Alabama Saves is an initiative aimed at bringing to-gether many
Alabama institutions and organizations in a combined effort to increase financial awareness.
Our goal is to promote greater household savings and reduced debt so that all Alabamians
are building wealth. This assistance is based on a nationwide campaign called America Saves
which was founded by the Consumer Federation of America, and supported by Alabama Co-
operative Exten-sion System. There are over 50 campaigns across the nation, 1,000 organi-
zations contributing support, and over 180,000 people pledging to save money and reduce
their debt load.
According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, U.S. Department of Commerce, Americans
are now saving 6.9% after taxes since May 2009. This is greater than the past savings rate of
less than 1% in 2005, 2006, and 2007. More people are looking for free or low-cost resources
to get a handle on their own finances.
Individual Savers find this campaign useful when making
their financial goals a reality. Do you want to learn more
about Alabama Saves? Visit www.americasaves.org.
Making a financial goal is all that is required. This gives a
Saver access to financial education classes, low cost bank-
ing services, certified financial counselors, and monthly
newsletters on saving and debt reducing tips.
Stop by your local Extension office to get an enrollment
form for Alabama Saves!
Volume 5, Issue 13 Personal Financial Newsletter Page 4