Tips for saving more

Do you have enough cash to fall back on or do you hope to retire someday? Use these tips to become a better saver.

Do you want it or need it?

Are you buying products or services you don’t really need? You can save money by cutting back on impulse buys or buying the latest fads and fashions. Also give some thought to items on which you could spend less.

Make savings an automatic habit

Put a portion of every paycheck you or your spouse receives into your savings account by using direct deposit or automatic transfer. You’ll be much less likely to spend the money that way.

Pay yourself first!

Set aside money for savings at the beginning of each month, rather than waiting to see what’s left at the end. Decide on a percentage of your monthly income (for example, 5-10%) to direct deposit or transfer into your savings account.

Set aside “extra” money into savings

A portion of a savings account statement.If you receive a tax refund, deposit it directly into your savings account. If you or your spouse gets an increase in pay, put the extra amount into your savings.
If you receive cash as a gift, save at least part of it. If you have paid off a loan, keep making the monthly payments — to yourself, in your own savings account!

Pay your bills on time

When you pay your bills on time, you avoid late fees; extra finance charges; disconnection of (and re-connection fees for) phone, electricity, or other services; the cost of eviction; repossession of cars or other items; bill collectors.

Avoid check-cashing stores

Check cashing stores charge for each check you cash. This can add up to a considerable amount each year. Consider opening a checking account at a bank and cashing your checks there instead. Check cashing is part of the service you receive as an account holder.

Save for retirement

Every federal employee, including military members, may contribute to the traditional Thrift Savings Plan (TSP). This plan offers the same type of savings and tax benefits as 401(k) plans.

If your spouse works for a company that has a retirement savings plan, don’t pass up the opportunity to participate. Many employers will match a portion of your contribution for “free.”

Learn more in the Planning for Retirement topic.

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