The SmartyPig Blog

Retirement Isn’t So Far Away

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More than one-third of workers (36%) have a measly $1,000 saved for their later years, according to a new study by the Employee Benefit Research Institute. Only one-third!? Say it ain’t so. American’s saying they are “confident” in their retirement funds is up, but why is saving as a whole, down?

Well, we know saving isn’t always easy. Especially for something that seems so far away. Many individuals are fortunate to have employee matching programs or company  401k’s. Other individuals are forced to research and open their own wealth management accounts. And some of those require minimum deposits of up to $5,000. That’s five times what a third of us have saved, so how do you get there? SmartyPig is a great place to grow those funds into the number you need to start that greater retirement goal. We take the work out of it for you with automatic deductions, savings calculators, and monthly updates to keep you on track and motivated.

Start today and you’ll be one day closer to living comfortably in your later years. You’ll thank us!

Wishing you successful saving.

Sarah Foss, SmartyPig’s Media Mad Woman, SFoss@SmartyPig.com

Slowing Killing Your Budget

You have the best intentions, but by month’s end you’re wondering where did you go wrong? It’s the little things that add up in a big way and this month, the experts at MSN.com list the top 5 mini-budget suckers. It won’t surprise you that account maintenance fees tops the list. A banking fee here, an ATM fee there, they all add up. Unnecessary subscriptions are next up: magazines, TV, online viewing. If you’re not watching/reading/utilizing these, why not ditch them and save yourself up to $200 a month. That’s $2,400 a year!

And the list wouldn’t be complete without credit card fees and interest. Ouch. It’s easy to pull out the plastic when you find a must have item. But saving for and purchasing that item credit free, will make you feel a whole lot better at the end of the month. Keep these tips in mind next month as you plan your budget and drop the extra dollars into your SmartyPig goals. You’ll be rewarding yourself with a much-needed vacation in no time!

Wishing you successful saving.

Sarah Foss, SmartyPig’s Media Mad Woman, SFoss@SmartyPig.com

Spend Now to Save Later?

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When I first met my husband he was convinced that if an item was on sale, even if it was something he’d use once in a lifetime – i’m talking a surfboard and we live in Iowa, he’d buy it. It took some shopping training from moi, the only self-proclaimed shopping master, to convince him that just because it’s a bargain doesn’t mean it’s something you HAVE to buy. There are plenty of “money-saving moves” like this one that seemingly save you loads of dough, but in the end have you with items you don’t need or will never end up using.

What am I talking about? Perhaps those deal of the say site vouchers sitting unused, or buying in unnecessary bulk. The financial Guru’s at MSN Money and Get Rich Slowly, share these and other “moves” that are really not saving us any pennies at all. The next time you find yourself buying a coupon to save more later, or purchasing an item because it “feels” like a good deal and something you may or may not need. Think twice. You may be costing yourself much more than you’re actually saving in the end.

Wishing you successful saving.

Sarah Foss, SmartyPig’s Media Mad Woman SFoss@SmartyPig.com

Trouble: The Signs Are There

Sometimes we get stuck in our own little world, finances on the back burner, and bam! Before we know it, we’re in trouble. How can you tell? The folks at MSN Money give us the warning signs this week in a smart article. Check it out here and look for your own red flags below.

1. You keep missing bill due dates.

2. You’re opening more lines of credit.

3. You’re making credit card payments…with other credit cards.

4. You’re not contributing to a savings account each month.

5. You have no idea the state of your credit.

6. You have nothing in reserves.

7. You’re paying bills with your 401(k).

SmartyPig Saved Me in a Pinch

SmartyPig saved my behind in a big way this winter. I’d been saving for a down payment on my first home.  It’s something I had been working on for less than a year, but with almost $7,000 in the bank, I was making some headway. I work in a call center, and while job security is typically good, my company had just been purchased by a competitor and rumors were flying that lay offs were on the horizon.

Unfortunately, the rumors turned to truth a month later when I found myself jobless and looking for quick work. While also being a college student, my bills were high and my skills weren’t quite yet where they needed to be. It took almost 3 months to find new employment. Luckily, I got by each of those months by careful planning, budgeting, and (sadly!) dipping into those funds I had saved with SmartyPig. It wasn’t my intention to use that money to cover me in my time of need, but I’m sure glad I had it. My only alternative would have been my credit cards.

I’m not back working, and socking away even MORE into my goals each month. Thanks SmartyPig!

-  Genevieve

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