Do you have $1,000 set aside for emergencies? If you already do, you could probably use another $1,000 in that account. Experts recommend keeping at least three months expenses in a reliable, liquid account – though even an extra $1,000 can be a life-saver. But finding $1,000 to save isn’t always easy. That’s why we’ve put together this 4-step plan on how to save $1,000 in 10 months.
Get Started with These 4 Steps
Find a Safe Place to Save Your Money – You will want to save your money in an account that you can access easily in case of an emergency. That means you should probably not keep this savings in a U.S. Savings Bond or in mutual funds. Choose a traditional savings account or a short-term certificate-of-deposit (CD), currently the most attractive accounts. (Early withdrawal penalties on a CD rarely lower the yield below that of a savings account.) Consider opening a new account or sub-account for this money so you’re not tempted to spend it. Most importantly, do not keep savings in a checking account, which pays no or low interest and is too easy to access.
Save $100 a month – If you are already saving $100 a month, great! Skip to step 3. If not, you need to either earn $100 more a month or cut back in order to find that $100 to save. America Saves has a list of 54 ways to save money to get you started. It can also help to pay yourself first and save the $100 at the beginning of the month instead of waiting to see if you have money left over to save at the end of the month.
Automate Your Savings – Setting up an automatic way to save is one of the best ways to save. Once you set it up, then it happens without having to think about it. Here are two ways to automate your savings. 1. Every pay period, ask your employer to deduct $100 from your paycheck and transfer it to a savings account. Ask your HR representative for more details and to set this up. 2. Ask your bank or credit union to transfer $100 from your checking account to a savings account every month. Talk to your local bank or credit union to set this up.
Watch Your Savings Grow for 10 Months – The final step is to sit back and watch your savings grow. How often do you look at the calendar and think it’s half way through 2014 already? The same will apply to your savings; Before you know it you will have that $1,000. They key is not to touch the money unless you have an emergency – that’s what the money is there for after all.
Once you have at least $1,000 in your emergency account, continue your savings success and continue to build your emergency savings or apply that money to a new savings goal. Perhaps you have debt you need to pay down or want to save for a car or home.
No matter what you are saving for, America Saves can support you with tips and advice through emails and text messages. Sign up for these by taking the America Saves Pledge Today.
Katie Bryan works for America Saves, managed by the nonprofit Consumer Federation of America (CFA), which seeks to motivate, encourage, and support low- to moderate-income households to save money, reduce debt, and build wealth. Learn more at americasaves.org.
Air Quality Index - What you Need to Know to be Safe Outdoors
During the warmer summer months you tend to spend a lot more time outdoors. Beyond using proper sun protection, you should be also aware of the air quality.
The Air Quality Index (AQI) tells you how clean or polluted your outdoor air is and what associated health effects might be a concern for you.
The AQI scale runs from 0 - 500. The higher the value, the greater risk the air is to your health. One hundred is generally accepted as the standard where air quality is satisfactory.
Levels over 100 are considered unhealthy for sensitive groups of people at first, and then for everyone as the level rises. Those in sensitive groups include older people, those with lung disease / conditions and children. Learn more.
Check your air quality by zip code or state before you head outside, to be sure you are safe or taking proper precautions.
Summer is nearly here, and kids will soon be out of school for a few months. Unfortunately, for some children, that leaves the question as to where their daily meals are coming from.
However, there are programs available for eligible children. The Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) provides meals to low-income children while school is out for the summer. These meals are free, meet federal nutrition guidelines and are available in areas with high concentrations of low-income children.
Things to Keep in Mind as you Prepare for Vacation
AAA estimates that two-thirds of American adults plan to vacation this summer. If you are one of them, here are a few things to keep in mind as you prepare to get away.
Put a hold on your mail. Mail stacking up is a good indicator to people that nobody is home. To be on the safe side, have your mail held at the post office until you return.
Check for travel alerts / warnings for your destination from the State Department. The world can be unstable, and sometimes dangerous for visitors in certain places. Make sure the risks are minimal wherever you are going.
You may not need a passport. A passport card is more convenient and less expensive than a passport book. It can be used for non-air travel to Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Bermuda.
Be careful online. Announcing your vacation via social media channels also tells people you aren’t home, and makes your house vulnerable.
Graco Recalls Car Seats Due to Harness Buckle Problem
Graco Children’s Products is recalling several of its car seats due to a faulty buckle. The buckle can get stuck in the latched position, making it difficult to remove your child from the seat and increasing the risk of injury in an emergency.
Visit the Graco website to look up affected models. If your car seat is included in the recall, you can order a free replacement harness buckle.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) encourages parents and caregivers to consider using an alternative car seat until the buckle is fixed.