6/25/2010

Kick Start Your Savings Series - Summer Temptations

As the temperature heats up, so does the temptation to spend. Between vacations and nights out with friends, summer can be fraught with expenses. Saving money and enjoying your summer can be synonymous. Take advantage of the following savings tips to inexpensively enjoy your summer:

Temptation # 1 – What am I going to wear?
Rather than purchase a new summer wardrobe, host a clothing swap with your friends, family, and neighbors. Everyone can get “new to them” accessories and clothing without having to spend a dime.

Temptation # 2 – What am I going to do for fun this summer?
Don’t spend your savings to see the summer blockbusters. Consider hitting cheaper matinees or borrowing recent flicks for free from the library. Look for free festivals or outdoor concerts in your area. Check newspapers, bulletin boards, your local library and search engines (type "free events" and the name of your city). Network shows are on vacation for the summer, so take a break from the TV! Cancel cable for the summer and add the savings to your bank account.
Be a tourist in your own city. Check out local museums and art galleries. For further savings, attend on discounted or free-to-the-public days.

Temptation # 3 – What are we going to eat?
Host a BBQ or potluck rather than go out to eat. With each guest responsible for a side-dish and their own beverage, you can enjoy the weather and company without sacrificing your pocketbook.

Make sure to bank your savings! Track your progress towards a savings goal by becoming a Virginia Saver, you can utilize the My Savings Tracker for free to record deposits and monitor your progress.

6/24/2010

Kick Start Your Savings Series - Emergency Fund


This post is part of the Virginia Saves Kick Start Your Savings Summer. Each week we'll
 focus on saving for a particular savings goal or how to save on everyday expenditures. 
To kick start your own savings click here.For beginning and more advanced savers, nothing is more important than the emergency fund. As the cornerstone of your savings plan, an emergency fund is your protection against unexpected, but inevitable, expenses.
Step 1- Figure out your goal & a place to save. Having an emergency savings fund may be the most important difference between those who manage to stay afloat and those who are sinking financially. That's because maintaining emergency savings of $500 to $1,000 allows you to easily meet unexpected financial challenges such as a car repair or medical bill and avoid high interest, short-term loans. With your emergency fund goal in mind, decide where you want to save it. Do you need to open a savings account? Do you want to add to a savings account you already have? Determine your goal and where to keep your emergency savings.
Step 2 - Save automatically. Have a portion of your paycheck, as little as $50 a month, transferred automatically from your checking to savings account. Individuals who save automatically are more than six times more likely to be successful long-term.
Step 3 – Track your progress. By enrolling as a Virginia Saver, you can utilize the Virginia Saves Savings Tracker for free to record deposits and monitor your progress. If you’re not sure where to find the money to start saving, cutting down expenses can be easier than you think. Institute a “no-spend day” and for each dollar you don’t spend, add to your emergency fun. Stay tuned for next week for even more ways to save on everyday expenditures!