Two big-ticket items that might be looming on the horizon for you and your growing family: your
children's education and your own
retirement plans. The key is to save appropriately, but you may be wondering if you have enough extra to save now for what you'll need later. Here are some smart saving ideas to help you and your family headed toward a bright financial future.
Give your savings a boost
- Pay yourself before you spend on anything else. Set up an auto-transfer from your checking account to your savings with each paycheck. This way, your money is safely put away before it ever hits your wallet!
- It's tough to reach a goal if you don't have one. Pledge to save a certain percentage each month and increase it as your income grows. Some
professionals recommend saving at least 20% of your monthly income.
- Another way to be goal-oriented with your money is to earmark it for specific activities. Holidays, birthdays and vacations are particularly good at spending your hard-earned savings. Plan ahead for these special occasions and set money aside in advance to avoid derailing your savings goals.
- Hold onto that extra money—income that isn't part of your regular pay, such as overtime, merit increases, salary bonuses and even tax refunds. Get to your savings goals faster by putting this extra money in your savings account right away.
Downsize your spending
- Figure out what are needs vs. wants in your life. “Needs" include things like housing, utilities and groceries. “Wants" might be shopping, going to the movies or eating out. To save more, spend less on those wants!
- A big budget buster can be the high interest rates you are paying on student loans or credit cards. Consolidating with a lower interest rate loan can help add hundreds—even thousands—to your bottom-line.
Buying new costs more. Thrift stores and consignment shops are a great place to find just about anything you need for your family and the money you can save can be substantial. Another common budget-breaker is buying a shiny new car. There are many good reasons to buy used, including lower or no car payments, smaller insurance premiums and much less cash spent.
Save in the right order
It may seem logical to save for your kid's education first, then your retirement. Most financial experts will tell you that you need to first save money away for your retirement before saving for college. Here's why:
- There are many options to
fund your child's college education, including scholarships, grants and loans, work-study programs and a student's own savings. However, the possibilities for retirement savings are more limited.
- College is only four years, but retirement can be 20 years or more. Clearly, you will need more money for so many more years. The earlier you start investing and saving for retirement, the longer your money will have to grow. If you save and invest consistently, you'll build a solid foundation for your retirement.
When you can steadily put money toward retirement, then you are ready to start saving for college. At Wright-Patt Credit Union, we can help you with both!
Contact us or visit a convenient
Member Center to find out more about Retirement Solutions, available through CFS*, or to have your college-planning questions answered by our College Access Counselor.