Financial Tip of the Week from the Iowa Bankers Association:
The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) has developed an award-winning Money Smart financial education curriculum designed to help consumers understand basic financial services, develop money-management skills and learn how to use banking services effectively.
The FDIC's Money Smart program is available free of charge in four primary formats:
· An instructor-led curriculum for adults on CD-ROM available in seven languages and print versions for the visually impaired;
· An instructor-led curriculum for young adults between the ages of 12-20 on CD-ROM, Money Smart for Young Adults;
· A self-paced Computer-Based Instruction format online for all ages in English and Spanish; and
· A portable audio (MP3) version, Money Smart Podcast Network.
Here are 10 money-saving tips featured in the FDIC's Money Smart curriculum:
1. Consider your needs vs. your wants. Think about items you purchase on a regular basis. These add up. Where can you save?
· Do you eat out at restaurants a lot?
· Can you cut back on daily expenses, such as coffee, candy, soda or cigarettes?
· Do you have services you do not really need, such as cable television or a cell phone?
2. Set up a direct deposit and an automatic transfer to your savings account.
· When you get paid, put a portion in savings through direct deposit or automatic transfer.
· If you have a checking account, you can sign up to have money moved into your savings account every month. What you don't see, you don't miss!
· U.S. Savings Bonds can be purchased through payroll deduction.
3. Pay your bills on time. This saves added expenses such as late fees, extra finance charges and disconnection/reconnection fees.
4. Consider opening a checking account. If you use check-cashing stores regularly, you might be paying $3 to $5 for each check you cash. This can easily add up to several hundred dollars in fees every year.
5. Save the extra money if you get a raise or bonus from your employer or receive cash as a gift.
6. If you have paid off a loan, keep making the monthly payments to yourself. You can save or invest the money for your future goals.
7. Avoid debt that does not help build long-term financial security. For example, avoid borrowing money for things that do not provide financial benefits or that do not last as long as the loan. Examples include: a vacation, clothing and dinners out in restaurants. Examples of debt that helps build long-term financial security include:
· Paying for a college education (for you or your child);
· Buying or remodeling a house; or
· Buying a car to get to work.
8. Save your change at the end of the day. Take that change and deposit it into the bank (every week or month).
9. If your work offers a retirement plan, such as 401(k) or 403(b) plan that deducts money from your paycheck, join it. Most employers will match up to $.50 on each dollar you contribute. The matched amount is free money!
10. If you decide to make investments, do your homework. Know what you are investing in. Get professional advice if you need it. You should have enough money in savings to pay for 2-6 months of expenses in case of emergency. Make sure you have an emergency savings account before considering investing in nondeposit products.
For more information and lots of great resources, such as the savings tips reprinted here, visit www.fdic.gov/moneysmart.
These tips are provided by the Iowa Bankers Association (IBA), representing banks and thrifts in the state. For more information, go to www.iowabankers.com.