You don’t have to be rich to build wealth

Learn how to stretch your dollars to include savings during America Saves Week, Feb. 22-27, 2016.

All over America, youth and adults are showing that you don’t have to be rich to build wealth. By joining America Saves Week, Feb. 22-27, 2016, individuals are gaining control by using tools to assess their savings, developing a plan and taking action. Through the America Saves website, you can:

  • Stay motivated by receiving weekly savings text tips.
  • Commit to your goals by making a savings pledge.
  • Estimate your current and future wealth.
  • Learn strategies to save on a tight budget.

The theme for this year’s America Saves Week is simple: Save Automatically. Michigan State University Extension shares the following tips on how you can save automatically.

Pay yourself first

This is the first step in creating a savings plan. When your income is already spread thin, this can be challenging to do. Sometimes the hardest part is believing you can save. Theodore Roosevelt once said, “Believe you can and you’re halfway there.” The other half requires discipline and determination.

Make paying yourself a need and not just a want. Treat it as your first bill that must be paid for your future. Even if it is only a small portion to start with, over time your savings will start to grow. Ten dollars a week becomes over $520 in a year depending on where it is put.

Make saving simple

One way to make saving simple is to do it automatically. You could have your employer deduct a certain amount from each paycheck and transfer it to a retirement or savings account. Every month, you could have your bank or credit union transfer a set amount from your checking account to a savings or investment account.

Save your loose change. Putting aside even 25 cents a day will save you over $90 annually. Just think the amount you could save if you doubled it ($182), tripled it ($273) or saved a dollar ($365) each day over the course of a year.

Stall your spending

Take 24 hours before making any big purchases. This will allow time to consider the purchase in more detail. Ask and answer these questions: can you afford it, is it something I really what or need, and is it a good value? For the smaller, everyday expenses, consider using the Buyerarchy of Needs to help guide your decisions. Ask yourself before making a purchase if you really need or want something and if so, can you use what you already have, borrow it, swap something for it or make it. For instance, before buying a book, you may want to check with friends or your local library where you can borrow it for free.

For more tools and tips, visit MSU Extension’s MI Money Health and Youth Money Management webpages.

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