Ready to celebrate America Saves Week? Dozens of organizations have joined forces to encourage Americans to start saving more money this week.
While government statistics show that people have been saving more over the last several months, most people are still worried about their finances. The First Command Financial Behaviors Index February survey found that 68 percent of people had lost money in their retirement accounts. About 7 in 10 people said they didn't feel confident the government stimulus bill would help them. And half of the respondents didn't think it would stabilize the U.S. economy, either.
Many consumers are taking matters into their own hands by cutting costs. According to the First Command Financial Behaviors Index, 58 percent of households plan to reduce expenses, from clothing purchases to leisure activities, for at least a year. The organizations behind America Saves Week say that having a plan to save money dramatically increases the chances of actually accomplishing that goal. AmericaSavesWeek.org reports that 6 in 10 Americans have a savings plan in place, but it's not always realistic. One suggestion from the campaign is to split direct deposited paychecks into checking accounts and savings accounts, so interest automatically accrues on part of the income. Many companies offer employees this option at no charge. A 2006 survey from the Electronic Payments Association found that people who take advantage of direct deposit save $90 more per month than those who don't.
To get tips on saving, including information about workshops and free savings tools, visit AmericaSavesWeek.org.