Give me 20 minutes, I'll give you a guarantee: You'll learn how to save big bucks on just about everything.
It’s not a holiday you’re going to hear much about. Your favorite celebrities won’t be recording public service announcements, and the president and Congress won’t issue proclamations. Regardless, America Saves Week is worthy of some attention.
It kicks off today with advice for both individuals and for organizations (like Debt.com) that want to help Americans find their own path to financial freedom. The most interesting part of the week is the America Saves Pledge, which asks you to set a monthly savings goal for yourself — and shows you how much you’ll have at the end of a year or more.
Of course, it goes without saying that you should be saving every week of the year. So why did I say it? Because the statistics are so worrisome, I feel compelled to repeat myself: Last year, U.S. households owed an average of $15,191 in credit card debt, for a total $854.2 billion.
Making a pledge during America Saves Week is a crucial first step, but the second step is harder: You need to learn about your money. That can be a daunting task, but let’s make it a little easier. I’ve also culled the Top 10 Debt.com posts that will help you start saving right now. Read them, and you’ll be on your way…
The easiest way to save money is to stop paying other people to keep it safe. Learn how to bank for free.
One way to stop spending so much is to replace expensive recreations with free ones. “Go to the library” sounds like a boring way to save, but have you been lately? You can avail yourself of everything from job coaching to 3D printers.
They’re up, they’re down, but it doesn’t matter how much a gallon costs. You buy enough per year that any tips will put more cash in your wallet than your tank.
If you’ve never heard of a health savings account, read this. While the concept takes a few minutes to understand, the savings can really add up.
5. 19 ways to save big on your dog
Sure, you could save money by not having a dog. For many of us, however, a dog is one of life’s necessities, not a luxury. Regrettably, too many dog owners think spending a lot is a sign of loving a lot. It’s not. You can take care of your dog and your budget at the same time.
There’s plenty of advice online about how to save on buying a house. Sadly, there’s a lot less advice for saving on rent. Here are our expert tips that really work. They did for the author of this excellent post.
Don’t pay for tax prep if you can get it for free, and don’t do it yourself if the free help will spot tax deductions that will put money in your pocket rather than Uncle Sam’s.
It’s hard to think about retirement when you’re struggling to make ends meet now. Debt.com sent its youngest writer to open a retirement account with just a few dollars, and she found out how easy it was. You can do the same.
9. You never need a department store credit card
Anyone who’s read either of my two books knows I advocate a credit card-free lifestyle. However, if you are going to carry credit cards, save money by not carrying one of these.
10. How to convert your junk
|6 ways to beat dumb banking fees
I’m all for frugality (although some people take it just a little too far), but I’m also for being frugal without it consuming all your free time. So Debt.com compiled the definitive list for reliably selling unused items online.
For starters, peruse Debt.com’s Ask the Expert section to see if anyone has already posed the same questions you have. I answer one each week, so feel free to ask any you don’t see there.
If you’re in more debt than you think you can handle, you can call one of our certified credit counselors at 1-800-810-0989. Not only is the call free, but so is the debt analysis you’ll receive. Call us now or whenever. For Debt.com, every week is America Saves Week.
Howard Dvorkin is a CPA and chairman of Debt.com, an educational resource for those who want to conquer all forms of debt in their lives.