ACCC Discusses the Importance of Saving

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National nonprofit American Consumer Credit Counseling shares important tips on saving on World Savings Day.

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With an uneven economic recovery, burdensome debt and the high cost of living and other expenses, many consumers consistently struggle to save.

In response to World Savings Day, national nonprofit American Consumer Credit Counseling explains the importance of saving and provides consumers with helpful tips on how to save.

World Savings Day was created in 1924 to increase public awareness of the importance of saving and how this concept is critical to individual and overall economic security. In recent years, the focus of World Savings Day has been increasing to highlight the value of establishing savings accounts, particularly given the large number of individuals – including the working poor and those in developing countries – who are unbanked.

“With an uneven economic recovery, burdensome debt and the high cost of living and other expenses, many consumers consistently struggle to save,” said Steve Trumble, President and CEO of American Consumer Credit Counseling, which is based in Newton, MA. “The purpose of a savings account is to encourage consumers to accumulate funds that can be used in an emergency or for a major purchase down the road.”

According to a recent survey by GoBankingRates of 5,000 respondents, 62 percent of Americans have less than $1,000 in savings and 21 percent don’t have a savings account. A total of 9.2 percent of the respondents admitted to having just enough money in their savings account to meet the minimum requirements set by their bank.
American Consumer Credit Counseling offers consumers everyday budget and money tips:

Housing and Utilities
If you’re struggling with an unaffordable mortgage or rent payment, moving to a cheaper location or getting a roommate may be better options. Other ways to lower housing costs include:

  • Refinance your mortgage to get a lower rate, or switch from a 15-year to a 30-year loan
  • Challenge your property tax assessment
  • Investigate whether bundled services (phone, cable, internet) could save money, or whether you can live without some of these services
  • Wash only full loads of dishes or laundry
  • Turn off lights and electronics when not in use, and turn off heat or AC when no one is home
  • Install a programmable thermostat to have more control over your heating and cooling costs

Transportation
Buying used cars and driving them for years is a great way to reduce your lifetime transportation expenses. Short-term ways to reduce costs include:

  • Raise the deductibles on your auto insurance policy
  • Strive to get insurance discounts such as good driver, good student and multiple car accounts
  • Investigate carpool and public transportation, and see if your employer offers any subsidies
  • Avoid repair bills by maintaining your vehicle properly with regular oil and filter changes
  • Plan your errands around your driving route to avoid multiple trips and save on gas

Food
Dining out utilizes nearly half of the average family’s food expenditures, so eating at home is one of the simplest ways to reduce what your spending on food. Other ways to control costs include:

  • Bring lunches and snacks to work
  • Check your fridge for items to use before they go bad
  • Give up unhealthy foods and drinks (soda, candy, etc.)
  • Use the weekly grocery store circulars to find sale items and shop accordingly
  • Create a price book so you know when items go on sale and what’s a good deal

Personal Insurance and Retirement
Consumers might be tempted to cut back on their 401K contributions to pay off debt, but avoid this practice if possible. Most companies with 401K plans offer partial fund matching, so failing to contribute means consumers will miss out on free money. Other places to look for savings include:

  • Consider refinancing your term life insurance. Rates have dropped in the past decade, so you may qualify for a lower premium
  • If you have a long-term disability policy, investigate the savings if you opt for a longer waiting period to reduce premiums (as long as you have an emergency fund)
  • Suspend contributions to annuities and other accounts that don’t offer matching funds or tax breaks

Health Care
With ever-rising health care costs, employers are asking their workers to take on a larger share of the expense. Try these tips to save on health care expenses:

  • Buy generic/store brand drugs
  • Order prescriptions via mail on the internet
  • Look for free or low-cost clinics
  • Monitor insurance claims to make sure you’re not getting stuck with bills
  • Take care of yourself by exercising regularly, avoiding unhealthy habits like smoking and drinking alcohol and wash hands regularly to avoid getting sick.

Clothing and Services
Many people update their wardrobe with the latest fashion trends. Others simply refuse to wear the same outfits more than once. Try these tips for limiting clothing and service expenses:

  • Perform an inventory of your wardrobe and only buy items that work with what you already own
  • Avoid dry-clean only clothing
  • Try getting your hair cut at a beauty school instead of a salon for a much lower price
  • Cancel your health club/gym membership and find ways to workout at home (walk/run outside, purchase some weights, workout with friends)
  • Buy clothes out of season when stores discount them (winter coats in summer, shorts in fall, etc.)

ACCC is a 501(c)3 organization that provides free credit counseling, bankruptcy counseling, and housing counseling to consumers nationwide in need of financial literacy education and money management. For more information, contact ACCC:

  • For credit counseling, call 800-769-3571
  • For bankruptcy counseling, call 866-826-6924
  • For housing counseling, call 866-826-7180
  • Or visit us online at http://www.consumercredit.com

About American Consumer Credit Counseling
American Consumer Credit Counseling (ACCC) is a nonprofit credit counseling 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to empowering consumers to achieve financial management through credit counseling, debt management, bankruptcy counseling, housing counseling, student loan counseling and financial education concerning debt solutions. In order to help consumers reach their goal of debt relief, ACCC provides a range of free consumer personal finance resources on a variety of topics including budgeting, credit and debt management, student loan assistance, youth and money, homeownership, identity theft, senior living and retirement. Consumers can use ACCC’s worksheets, videos, calculators, and blog articles to make the best possible decisions regarding their financial future. ACCC holds an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau and is a member of the National Foundation for Credit Counseling® (NFCC®). For more information or to access free financial education resources, log on to ConsumerCredit.com or visit http://www.consumercredit.com/financial-education.aspx.

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