Tightening Your Belt

Ten Simple Money-Saving Tips For The New Year

almost $20 per week on gas. At $743 in annual savings, you can use that as your cash reserve or begin building your portfolio.”

10. BE ON A CONSTANT HUNT FOR BARGAINS AND WAYS TO SAVE. Cancel magazine subscriptions to publications you don’t read. Instead of renting headphones on your next flight, bring your own. Also, you might enjoy savings by selecting domestic items (such as cars or furniture) over imported ones because homegrown products are usually less expensive. In addition, look into substituting generic brands for designer labels whenever you can, and don’t underestimate the value of buying items on sale or pinching pennies in areas that you once ignored. Now is the time to seek out the loads of retailers offering deals in response to the slowed economy and post-tragedy. The key is to take advantage of savings wherever you find them because, as Howard points out, “having cash, not flash, puts you in charge.”

For more information on saving and pre-retirement planning, sign onto www.asec.org and call 800-998-7542 for brochures such as The Power To Choose, Ballpark Estimate, and Savings Fitness: A Guide to Your Money and Your Financial Future. Also, sign up for Clark Howard’s free monthly newsletter at www.clark howard.com.

TOP SAVINGS MISTAKES
1. Not modifying your spending habits and committing to saving money
2. Not taking advantage of your company’s match in a 401(k) plan, or participating in a defined contribution plan
3. Not appropriately/correctly allocating your assets to meet a specific goal or time horizon
4. Not setting a specific dollar target or financial goal
5. Not knowing how much you have, where you are spending, and how much you need to save for the future (failing to plan for retirement)
6. Cashing out your retirement plan (Instead, roll it over into an IRA or your new company’s retirement plan)
7. Not allocating at least six to nine months of savings toward an emergency fund
SOURCE: AMERICAN SAVINGS EDUCATION COUNCIL (ASEC)

RETIREMENT PLANNING TIPS

  • Start by figuring out how much you will need to save for retirement–fill out a retirement planning worksheet like ASEC’s Ballpark Estimate at www.choosetosave.org
  • Begin to modify your spending habits and commit to saving money
  • Get involved with your company’s 401(k) plan or defined contribution plan immediately
  • Consider putting money into an IRA (Roth or regular)
  • Contribute to a tax-sheltered savings plan
  • Set up an automatic “savings” deduction from your paycheck, at least once a month, to go directly to a savings vehicle (e.g., 401[k])
  • Consider buying a U.S. savings bond
  • Saving for retirement is a long-term strategy, so you should consider equities as one possible savings vehicle to build up your nest egg

SOURCE: AMERICAN SAVINGS EDUCATION COUNCIL (ASEC)

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