52 Week Savings

The 52 Week Savings Challenge has taken savers by storm.  The challenge is to save $1,378 by increasing your savings by $1 each week.  This plan is challenging but simple. 

During week one you save $1.  Easy-peasy. 
Week two: $2.  You get the drift.

The Challenge starts out easy and gets harder throughout the year so that at week 51, you save $51 and week 52, you save $52.  With these harder weeks coming during the holiday season many people find themselves falling off the plan.

Virginia Saves offers a couple of ways to still achieve your mission but without the year-end pain.

1. Use your refund to catch up on some of the harder weeks.  Set that money into your savings.  Hard weeks done!

2.  Do the challenge in reverse so that the easier weeks are at the end rather than the beginning.

3.  Mark off the weeks as you are able to complete them.  Only have $17 to save, mark that week off.

To get you copy of the 52 Week Savings Challenge click HERE

Tax Refund Uses to Advance Your Goals

Do you spend weeks eagerly anticipating your tax refund? When the money finally comes in, is it gone tomorrow? Many people view tax refunds as unplanned bonuses, using for splurges or treats. A tax refund provides the opportunity to improve your financial situation. Use these tips to get the most value from your refund check.

·         Pursue financial goals. Saving for a house or car down payment? Establishing to your child's college tuition fund? Apply your tax refund toward these goals. 

·         Leverage tax refund for matched savings:  Virginia Individual Development Accounts can be a great way for you to fund your goals of homeownership, small business or higher education.  VIDA can offer $2 for every $1 you save.  Visit http://www.dhcd.virginia.gov/index.php/business-va-assistance/startingexpanding-a-business/virginia-individual-development-accounts-vida-business.html to see if you could be eligible for up to $4,000 matched savings.

·         Pay down your debt. Use your refund for some much needed debt relief. Pay down credit card balances. Your refund paired with a debt snowball can knock years off your indebtedness.  To get started on a debt snowball, you can visit www.powerpay.org.  

·         Save for a rainy day. Put your refund into a savings account or emergency fund to prepare for big expenses.  Savings helps you with a major car repair bill, medical emergency or other unexpected expenses. Virginia Saves offers a variety of savings and debt reduction strategies.  Join today at www.virginiasaves.org

·         Build retirement. Tax time is a great time to establish or increase your retirement funds.  Starting early and letting your investment grow can provide you a secure future in your older years.  Find out how much you need to save each month, check out the Ballpark Estimate at www.choosetosave.org/ballpark

·         Enjoy. Apply your refund to pay for your vacation, back to school or holiday expenses to take the stress out of those irregular expenses that can throw your budget off course.  We all have things we enjoy.  Use Virginia Saves’ 30-40-30 plan to earmark a portion for pleasure while still saving and reducing debt.  Learn more at www.virginiasaves.org.

·         Upgrade your life. Your refund check provides the opportunity to improve your life. Spruce up your home (replace the siding, stain the deck, etc.).  Repair or replace your car to increase your transportation reliability.   Improve your career opportunities by taking a class or training course.

·         Train your children. Use your refund to teach your older children to handle money. Allow them to manage a portion of the refund, teaching them to budget for school, clothing and entertainment expenses as well as the importance of savings. Our children depend on our instruction to prepare them for life’s choices.  Begin now.

·         Leave a legacy.  Use your refund to offer hope and encouragement to others by making a charitable contribution to a non-profit.  Investing in the lives of others can offer them a helping hand at a crucial moment in their lives and can also provide you a charitable deduction to reduce your taxes next year.


30-40-30 Plan Makes Taxtime Savings Easy

Getting started on a savings plan is one of the hardest pieces of the puzzle.  Virginia Saves website www.virginiasaves.org has some great tips to help you get started.  Taxtime is a great time to carve out a little refund savings to meet your future needs.  Take a look at the 30-40-30 plan.  Using this plan you address past, present and future needs with your tax refund.

PAST:  30% of your refund used to catch up on past due bills and debt reduction.

PRESENT: 40% live a little and enjoy some of the purchases you have been putting off because of funds shortage.

FUTURE: 30% set aside for future purchases (back to school, vacation, new tires, emergency, etc).

Get your 30-40-30 Plan here.

This year you can cover all your needs using your refund to get you jumpstarted.


Savings Facts and Statistics

Consumers with Savings Plans Far More Likely to Save, Reduce Debt

There are striking differences between the savings progress of those with and without a savings plan, as the figures below suggest. (Source: America Saves and the American Savings Education Council (ASEC) 2011 National Survey Assessing Household Saving (link))

With Plan Without Plan
Spend less than income, save difference 88% 50%
Reducing consumer debt or debt-free 87 69
Sufficient emergency savings 85 50
Saving enough for retirement 61 27