Financial Literacy for Everyone

Financial Fortune Teller

Get a sneak peek into your financial future to see how well you are saving and planning for retirement.

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Saving can help you achieve any financial goal. Whether it is a comfortable retirement, a down payment for a property, or a new car or stereo, you can get there by setting money aside. And best of all, you can have what you want without getting bogged down in debt. Yet if you are like most people, you do not save as much as you would like to. Or you do not save at all. Many people spend more than they earn. Today's high home and food prices may make saving seem less possible than ever. But the time is now. And with a little planning and effort, saving money is not only possible, it is easy.

Make Saving a Priority
You will be more likely to save money if you make it a priority. Sit down and figure out what you would like to save money for – retirement, a property, a car, college, dream vacation – and how much it will cost. Then make your plan:

  • Set a timeline for when you would like to reach your goal.
  • Set a schedule by dividing the total goal amount by the number of weeks, months or pay periods between now and your goal date.
  • Be vigilant by treating your saving contribution just like any other must-pay expenses, such as rent or groceries.

Find Money to Save
While it may seem difficult sometimes just to make ends meet, chances are you have extra money you did not even know about. Here are some ways to find it:

  • Keep track of everything you spend for a week. You might be surprised about what you are buying, and what you can do without.
  • Lower your bills. Many creditors will give borrowers a lower interest rate if they are asked. Also, conserving electricity and gas can make a big difference.
  • Rank your nonessential expenses. Keep the ones you like the best and cut the items on the bottom of the list.
  • Pack a lunch or cook more dinners at home. Eating out at restaurants can use up a lot of money that could be saved.

Pay Yourself First
You are probably inclined to pay everyone else first – whether it is your landlord or your grocer or the electricity company. But it is vital to start paying yourself first by saving money. Once you have made a contribution to your financial longevity and well-being, then you can divide up your money to cover everything else. Don't worry. You will more than likely have plenty left over to cover everything you need.

In fact, most banks make this easier. You can have them automatically transfer funds from your checking account to your savings account, mutual fund and other accounts. You might also check with your employer. Companies will often deduct savings from paychecks if asked.