News From Our Blog

Gas Prices Near You

Fueleconomy.gov has many great resources to save you money at the pump.

Before you fuel up, find the cheapest gas prices in your state, as well as regional and national gas prices.

Reduce the amount of gas that you use by following their gas mileage tips

Learn about the history of gasoline prices, understanding gas taxes and more at Fueleconomy.gov.

Saving For College: Graduating With the Least Amount of Debt

By Katie Bryan, America Saves

By June most recent high school graduates know what college they are going to, but many of them may still not know how they are going to pay for it. We’ve heard the stats that the average debt students have upon graduation has skyrocketed to $35,200, according to a recent Fidelity survey, and that the costs of attending college increase 6% each year. College is still a great investment for most students, especially with some planning ahead of time to help keep debt to a minimum. It’s still true that those with a bachelor’s degree will earn $1 Million more over their lifetime than those who only complete high school.

The challenge is to graduate with as little debt as possible. Here are three ways to help keep student debt to a minimum:

1.     Create a College Savings Plan

Just like savings for retirement, it’s good to save early and often. There are many ways out there to help you save, from a 529 account to Savings Bonds. Tip to find extra money to save: If you can save an extra $300 a year ($25 a month at 5% interest, compounded monthly for 18 years) you will have an extra $8,766.43 to put towards tuition bills.

Haven’t created a college savings plan yet? Pledge to Save with America Saves and you can set your savings goal and create a plan to reach it. You can even sign up for text message tips and reminders to help you reach your goal of saving for college.

2.     Shop Around For Schools and Free Money

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau created a tool to compare the costs of different colleges. Their tool will let you compare financial aid offers so you can see how all those numbers impact your payments down the road.

Apply for as many scholarships as you can. $500 here and $1,000 there can go a long way to helping pay for college. Many students also stop looking for scholarships once they enter college, but keep applying each year. Need some inspiration? Check out the article “How I won $100,000+ in college scholarships” by Ramit Sethi.

3.     Find Ways to Reduce Spending (or Earn Money) While in College

Live at Home – Living on campus can cost anywhere from $7,500 to $9,000 per year. Consider living at home during college (if you can) and you can save nearly $40,000. You can still get a full college experience by joining clubs and being active on campus.

Get a Part-Time Job – Look for a job on campus or a paid internship to supplement your income and pay for expenses like food, books, and incidentals while in college. The more you can pay upfront the less your monthly loan payments will be when you graduate. Need more ways to save? We’ve got a list of 54 ways to save here.

America Saves, managed by the Consumer Federation of America (CFA), is a non-profit researchbased social marketing campaign that seeks to motivate, support, and encourage low- to moderate-income households to save money and build wealth. Learn more at americasaves.org

Save Money and Water by Fixing Drips

American households waste more than 1 trillion gallons of clean drinking water each year because of leaky pipes, toilets, shower heads and other fixtures.

These types of leaks are often easy to fix. You might only need a few tools and hardware, and these simple repairs can pay for themselves in water savings.

As part of Fix a Leak Week (March 18-24), learn how to find and fix leaks in your home, and save water with WaterSense labeled products.

5 Easy Ways to Get Involved in America Saves Week and Save Successfully

America Saves Week, February 25 – March 2, 2013, is chance for individuals to assess their own saving status and take financial action. Studies reveal that having a savings plan with specific goals can have beneficial financial effects, even for lower-income families.

Here are 5 easy ways to get involved in America Saves Week:

1. Take the America Saves Pledge

Those with a savings plan are twice as likely to save for emergencies and retirement than those without a plan. Join over 310,000 people who have already committed to save. Pledge or re-pledge today!

2. Share Your Savings Goal

People save more successfully when they have a goal in mind. That’s why we’ve created posters so you can put your savings goal into perspective and, share it.

3. Assess Your Savings

Find out if you are saving in all the right places with this 12 step savings assessment.

4. Test Your Savings Knowledge

Take this savings quiz to reveal how much you understand about the realities of savings in America.

5. Share Savings Tips and Advice with Family and Friends

On Twitter and Facebook? Share these social media posts (Word) with your friends and followers to encourage them to save.

America Saves Week is coordinated by America Saves and the American Savings Education Council. Started in 2007, the Week is an annual opportunity for organizations to promote good savings behavior and a chance for individuals to assess their own saving status.

Estimate Your Retirement Benefits with Tools from Social Security

Whether you’re getting close to retirement or planning for the future, check out Social Security’s retirement estimator.

The estimator gives you an idea of what your monthly Social Security benefits would be, based on your current record of Social Security earnings. Your actual benefit amount cannot be determined until you apply for benefits.

As you plan for your retirement, keep in mind that you’ll need about 70 percent of your pre-retirement earnings to maintain your standard of living. Social Security benefits will only make up a part of this percentage and should be supplemented by a pension, savings, and/or investments. Check out 10 Ways to Prepare for Retirement.