Save money while also enjoying life
Monthly Archives: February 2012

How to Save on a Small Salary

by Ashley

Many women are working for lower hourly wages and putting off saving for the day a bigger paycheck comes their way. But just because you’re making $12 an hour doesn’t mean you can’t achieve financial security.  In fact, it’s all the more reason to get smart about saving. Just how do you save on a small salary?  Pam Krueger, host of the PBS show Money Track has the answers.

“Achieving financial security really isn’t that difficult. It’s simply about the way you approach it,” says Pam Krueger, “Once you take the first step to saving and investing, you will feel empowered and in control.”

Train yourself. A big part of being a good saver is making a habit of putting your money away. Start doing so early and as often as possible and you’ll have a nice nest egg down the road. “Set up automatic monthly transfers between your bank and brokerage firm,” says Kreuger. “You won’t even miss the money.”

Free up cash. To invest, you need to find cash to contribute to a savings account or the stock market—even if it is only a dollar a day. Start paying attention to where and how you spend your pocket change and the small bills sitting in your wallet. “As cornball as it sounds, there is this campaign called Feed the Pig,” says Krueger. “You use the change found in your purse or pockets at the end of the day to ‘feed the pig,’ and pretty soon, the pig will be full and that’s your $1 a day.”



Start a credit-union savings account.
Money that you need to keep safe and accessible should go into a savings account at a credit union (and everyone, Krueger says, should have about $1,500 to $3,000 saved in an emergency reserve fund before they start investing). Credit-union savings accounts have lower fees, more negotiable terms, and more competitive interest rates than traditional bank savings accounts. “In general, they are also just friendlier and more approachable,” says Krueger. “And the low fees help keep more money in your pocket than in theirs.”

Invest in a low-cost index fund.
“Index funds keep costs down so every penny goes directly towards increasing your portfolio,” she says. “It also gives you instant diversification and instant access to really safe stock-market investing because it spreads your money around.” To buy stocks with small bundles of cash, visit Sharebuilder.com or consider going directly to a low-cost brokerage firm, such as Vanguard or Fidelity, that issues the index fund you are interested in.

Do it yourself. “If you are interested in investing in a particular company, like any of the major companies listed on the S&P 500, consider cutting out the middleman and investing directly through that company,” says Krueger. This method is called DRIP, or Dividend Reinvestment Plan investing; what it means is you are cutting out commission fees and smartly reinvesting the dividends yourself to increase the value of your investment portfolio—and your financial stability down the road.


Spending Makeover

by Ashley

With salaries shrinking and jobs on the decline, it’s the perfect time for a makeover on our spending habits.

It’s never too late to learn how to budget and to save your hard earned cash. If you didn’t get the money saving gems from your parents – no need to worry – I’ll pass along my easy money saving tips.

Cut The Cable
Cable can cost more than $1,000 a year. Most TV shows and movies can be viewed online. You might have to deal with a commercial interruption but it’s much better than paying for it. It’s also much better than having to deal with the annoying cable networks…’cough cough’ Time Warner…

Read
I’m a huge reader but if I bought all the books I read in a year – I’d be broke. My dirty little secret is the library. When was the last time you actually stepped foot in one? The NYC library lets you reserve books online – even ebooks and eMagazines! All you need to do is sign up and sync up. You can also rent DVDs, and CD’s. I’ll admit that my friends teased me about this…until they signed up and became instant converts. As a thank you, one of my friends got me this cute tote bag. I use it to lug around my books :) .

Hang Out
When was the last time you had a game night? A great way to save money -especially living in a city like New York – is to hang out at someone’s apartment. Why not host a game night? Scrabble, Taboo, Apples to Apples, a deck of cards and Pictionary all cost under $20 and can be used for years. Invest in these items and spend some quality time with your friends. Insert cheesy Full House reference here…

 


Economics 101

by Ashley

Hi, my name is Ashley Meyers. I’m in my early twenties, living in NYC, and working at an entry level job. I’ve never once defaulted on a loan, had an overdraft or reached out for help from the bank of mom and dad. I’m lucky, my parents taught me how to save, budget but how to also enjoy life.

I’ve decided to blog because far too often I’ve seen my friends and coworkers make terrible money decisions. They didn’t have the same money guidance I had. These are things you never learn in school. You’re supposed to just pick them up as you grow up. But plenty of people haven’t – which is why the country is unemployed, and overwhelmed with financial destruction.

Enjoy the weekend and I’ll be back on Monday for my first dose of financial reality.

 


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