WASHINGTON (2/20/14)--Washington Post columnist Michelle Singletary this week offered consumers advice for saving during America/MilitaryAmerica Saves Week, sponsored by the Consumer Federation of American.
Singletary is a longtime credit union supporter and has spoken at several Credit Union National Association events.
Perhaps just as importantly, Singletary offered empathy to would-be savers. "I know that for many Americans, finding money to save is tough," Singletary wrote. "When experts recommend that you need to save at least six months of living expenses, I see people take a heavy breath."
Her advice: Start small. "To start, aim to save one month's worth of expenses," Singletary advised. "Then, as you get extra money, add it to your emergency pot."
She offered consumers a daily plan to get started saving during America Saves Week:
Monday. She advised consumer to start the week by deciding to save, figuring out where to cut expenses and going on a budget.
Tuesday. This is the day consumers should make a plan to pay off their debt. She advised listing all debts and targeting the lowest balance first while making minimum payments on the others to create a psychological boost.
Wednesday. Automatically deposit money from each paycheck into a savings account. Even start with an amount as low as $5, Singletary said.
Thursday. Review retirement savings goals. Consumers with access to a workplace retirement plan such as a 401(k) should start right away.
Friday. Consumers who are receiving a tax refund should earmark some or all of it for savings. Even if consumers have debt to pay, set aside some for savings, Singletary said.
Saturday. Assess progress. "If you procrastinated, use the weekend to take some action," Singletary urged readers."
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