Sneaky savings tips

In addition to long-term savings, financial experts agree that consumers should aim to have three to six months living expenses saved for emergencies. If you are having trouble establishing a nest-egg, don’t despair. Following are some simple ways to boost your savings:

Make it automatic. I know a lot of people who have more than enough taxes withdrawn as a sort of forced savings. You can do this—and earn a little interest—by having money automatically deducted from your checking account into a separate savings account. Even better, if your employer has the capability to automatically deposit your paycheck, have some of the funds directed into a savings account.

Enjoy making more money. Many people have untapped talents. If you have a hobby, why not turn it into income? Whether you enjoy photography, painting, knitting, or metal work, consider possible ways to earn money by doing what you love best. Babysitting and lawn work are also good ways to earn additional money.

Downsize. Most people have garages, basements, and attics full of items they no longer want or need. Holding a garage sale or advertising some of your things online could result in a boost to your savings account. Use gifts wisely. If you receive unexpected funds, do not be tempted to spend them frivolously. Instead, put all money received from tax refunds, inheritances and gifts into an interest-bearing savings account.

Keep the status quo. If you get a raise, pretend you didn’t. If your expenses suddenly decrease, such as when you pay off a car, bank the difference. The trick is to do this as soon as the change occurs—after all, you can’t claim to miss what you’ve never had.

Finally, make a commitment to pay down debt. Reducing your debt allows you the freedom to make smart future financial choices. And remember, you don’t always have to choose between paying down debt or establishing saving. Sometimes the right choice is to do a little of each.

Kim McGrigg is the former Manager of Community and Media Relations for MMI.

  • The Consumer Federation of America (CFA) is an association of nonprofit consumer organizations that was established in 1968 to advance the consumer interest through research, advocacy, and education. Today, nearly 300 of these groups participate in the federation and govern it through their representatives on the organization's Board of Directors.
  • The National Council of Higher Education Resources (NCHER) is the nation’s oldest and largest higher education finance trade association. NCHER’s membership includes state, nonprofit, and for-profit higher education service organizations, including lenders, servicers, guaranty agencies, collection agencies, financial literacy providers, and schools, interested and involved in increasing college access and success. It assists its members in shaping policies governing federal and private student loan and state grant programs on behalf of students, parents, borrowers, and families.

  • Since 2007, the Homeownership Preservation Foundation (HPF) has served as a trusted, neutral source of information for more than eight million homeowners. They are partnered with, and endorsed by, numerous major government agencies, including the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Department of the Treasury.

  • The mission of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is to create strong, sustainable, inclusive communities and quality affordable homes for all. HUD works to strengthen the housing market in order to bolster the economy and protect consumers; meet the need for quality affordable rental homes; utilize housing as a platform for improving quality of life; and build inclusive and sustainable communities free from discrimination.

  • The Council on Accreditation (COA) is an international, independent, nonprofit, human service accrediting organization. Their mission is to partner with human service organizations worldwide to improve service delivery outcomes by developing, applying, and promoting accreditation standards.

  • The National Foundation for Credit Counseling® (NFCC®), founded in 1951, is the nation’s largest and longest-serving nonprofit financial counseling organization. The NFCC’s mission is to promote the national agenda for financially responsible behavior, and build capacity for its members to deliver the highest-quality financial education and counseling services.