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Friends Can Help You Save Money

Posted: May 24, 2011

If your goal is to save money, then tracking your spending is the first essential step.

If your goal is to save money, then tracking your spending is the first essential step. Writing down what is spent on groceries, utilities, gasoline, mortgage, insurance, newspapers is fairly easy to do, and the foundation of a Spending Plan. But here is a place that is often illusive yet, has a major impact on your spending. Tracking how much you spend on items like morning stops for coffee/Danish, dollar in the soda machine, going out to lunch with a friend, taking advantage of an organization’s sub sale at work can give insight to additional spending habits.
If you are like me, I could track where my money was going for the big ticket items, but didn’t realize how often I forgot to pack a lunch, how easy it was to meet a friend for lunch or before work stop by for coffee. In a week’s time, I could account for $21.43 that was "drop by spending." If this pattern continued for the next 48 weeks, I will potentially spend $1,050.57!
After giving some thought to this and knowing that saving money was a goal, but conflicted over time spent with friends while eating, I knew I had to come up with a plan. The work friends convinced me I could remember to bring a lunch – put a note on my refrigerator, do better at meal planning to include leftovers, and keep a few canned items bought on sale in my desk. Since we all wanted to save money, we now bring our lunches, eat outside and enjoy saving money and enjoy our friendship.
This is only a small step I took to enable me to save money. Each person or family can find their own methods, but they first must be willing to review their spending habits or patterns in establishing a plan of action.
If you would like to join me on my quest to save, visit     http://njaes.rutgers.edu/sshw/ to learn more steps to enhance your financial management skills.
Resource: "Small Steps to Health and Wealth," an outcome based program designed by Barbara O’Neil, PhD, CFP and Karen Ensle, EdD, RD, FADA, Extension specialist from Rutgers Cooperative Extension.

Linking Annual Income to Savings Trends

Based on a February, 2010 survey from the National Institute of Food and Agricultural, there appears to be a correlation between household incomes and savings. The following is a brief summary of the report "Annual America Saves/ASEC Survey," conducted by Opinion Research Corp.

“Reported Differences Between Households with Income Above and Below  $50,000”                     

                                                        Below $50k             Above $50k
Have sufficient emergency savings              52%                         85%
Have sufficient retirement savings               36%                         73%
Save for retirement at work                       26%                         70%
Have spending plan allowing for saving         32%                         56%
Have savings plan with specific goals           38%                         68%

To learn more about the survey, explore your future financial worth, and more money tips, visit: http://www.americasaves.org/resources/savings_tip.asp 

NEWS: Consumer Financial Protection

In July, 2011, the authority to stop unfair, abusive, and deceptive financial practices and to enforce federal consumer financial protection laws will be shifted from existing federal regulators to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).
This change was created as part of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. At the same time, the Dodd-Frank Act ensures that states will play an important role in reigning in abusive lending practices.
When borrowing money, be sure to read ALL small print, ask questions, making sure you understand your rights as a consumer.

Jane Landis, County Extension Director,
Dauphin County