Saving With Limited Funds

Five Basic Steps Toward Financial Independence

retirementnesteggNot only is April tax-filing season, but it’s also Financial Literacy Month. Most Americans are clueless about issues such as credit management, taxes, banking, and saving and investing for the future, reports In addition to not knowing enough about saving and investing, too many people aren’t doing enough to prepare for their financial future.

According to the 10th annual Ariel-Schwab Black Investor Survey, African Americans continue to save far less money than white people and are no more likely to be investors today than they were a decade ago. The 2007 survey of African Americans and white people earning at least $50,000 annually also showed that the median amount of money saved by black people is $48,000 compared with $100,000 for white people. On a monthly basis, median savings is $182 for black people versus $261 for white people.

Also, 40% of consumers live beyond their means, and half are living paycheck to paycheck. If this sounds like you, putting aside extra cash for a rainy day may seem impossible, especially when funds are tight and you’re on a fixed income.

But given the current economic slowdown, it’s an ideal time to take the cost-cutting measures necessary to achieve financial security. “The key to saving money with limited funds is training your mind to know how much money you are working with and making a conscious decision to stay within that framework of available cash,” says Gil Michel, president and founder of, a personal finance Website geared to the African American online community. “Unless you change your mindset, the spending habits that you form based on say, a $25,000 salary will be the same even if you were to make $100,000.” Michel adds.

An effective savings plan takes discipline to reach specific financial goals. Regardless of your income, here are five steps to help eliminate debt and to start saving:

  1. Create a budget. Neglecting to keep track of your day-to-day finances is a challenge that can lead to unintentional overspending. A budget will show exactly how much money is coming in, how much money is going out, and where it’s going. Set limits on the amount of money you spend each month and make small adjustments in areas where money can be freed–such as café lattes and junk food. Also, Black Enterprise’s Wealth Building Guide offers some ideas on how you can grow your income to save more. (See the “Wealth Building”portion of for more information.) You want to put aside at least 10% of your after-tax income to use towards an emergency fund, investments and education.
  2. Invest in your company’s 401(k) plan. If you aren’t investing in your company’s employer-sponsored retirement plan, then don’t procrastinate any longer. A 401(k) is an effortless savings tool (it automatically comes out of your paycheck) that can provide significant income for retirement. If your employer even matches a portion of your contributions, it is allowing more money to work for you faster. If you’re
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    Great info – attracting new customers can be challenging and expensive. It’s cheaper, less labor intensive and can be more profitable to market to existing customers, since they are already familiar with your company, products/services, and brand.

  • Networking is truly the key to getting the word out!

  • This was great information.

  • great helpful tips.

  • Eugenewjr

    Networking through social media leads to word of mouth referrals. This is must when starting any business.

  • Elaine Jackson

    Melinda I need your help with my business.
    I will research you and find a contact info to connect.
    This session was great.
    Thanks for the motivation.
    Elaine Jackson, PMP

  • Elaine Jackson

    I am in a technical field so the product (training) I offer is not available to everyone.
    The market is small and there are tons of competitors that offer similar but sloppy training. The client searching for cheap or the lowest cost ends up taking the inferior training and then complain to me. This is after I gave them the million dollar presentation.  Comments.  Can you help me get out of the rat race of individuals offering bad training and cutting into my revenue? 
    Elaine Jackson, PMP

  • Elaine Jackson

    What ever happened to those technical individuals that tried to get their talents recognized in Silicon Valley?  No matter what they did – the glass ceiling was not budging.  I am in the same situation.
    Billion dollar business stuck in a fish tank.

    Elaine Jackson, PMP

  • Janice

    Excellent information for taking my business to another level>

  • Janice

    Excellent information for taking my business to another level>

  • Mrazq1

    I’ve been considering using a daily deal site. Thanks for the info!

  • Favort2

    Great tips–short and to the point. I wasn’t aware of Living Social and Rapidfire to help attract new customers.
    Thanks for sharing.

    • Infinitehi4

      Like you this is good news to my ears.  Loved it…

  • Vintageandveil

    Loved the tips I would also suggest using HARO to get your name and product in giftbags at major events, everybody loves swag.

  • Ransford

    Liked this one. I joined LinkedIn and this has been very usefull in many ways.

  • Daks. J

    Great insights. 

  • Lucubrate75

    Would these tips work on all types of businesses? Will look into Living Social today thanks

  • I’m definitely going to get a profile for Linkedin. I’ve been seeing this site name but just never really looked into it. But if the small biz lady suggests to get one, then I’m doing it!

  • Thank you Ms. Melinda for the wonderful tips on attracting new customers! “Using social media is like putting a rolodex on steroids.” Love it!! 

  • Thank you

  • Donna

    This lady knows what she’s talking about. Great mentoring and teaching advice.

  • I really enjoyed this lesson. Now I have a clear understanding on how to attract new clients/customers for my magazine @levelupmagazine. LEVEL-UP! MAGAZINE™ now has over 45,000 page views & over 9,000 readers. This lesson really gives me that starting point and guidance in which I need right now. Thanks so much Melinda for sharing your knowledge. [Issue 5]

  • Tettcommunitydevelopment

    loved the idea about offering daily deals on the website

  • Sandra Butler

    Face to Face networking will help you attract new customers..

  • Zurriane

    good stuff

  • GlobalService

    Great information. I must check out Living Social now!

  • Zurriane

    Good info

  • Kallen

    Great info, never thought about using Living Social to advertise.

  • Ulc_tutoring

    I have done LivingSocial and it wasn’t what I epxected.  Be sure to do your homework and decide if it is right for your business.

  • Phoebe Austin

    I am just getting started, but this is info I can use now and continue for the future.

  • Thanks for these great to the point and actionable tips! 

  • Bobby

    Always be networking and you’ll always be closing.

  • Good Info on how to network.

  • I love the referral tip. And I give something free away on my website. awesome!