22 Sep

How to Start Saving on an Entry-Level Salary

If you have an entry-level job and feel like you’re already stretching your salary as far as it will go, savings might be the last thing on your mind.

Saving for retirement or building an emergency fund isn’t possible until you get that raise, right? Well there’s good news: You don’t have to wait for a bigger paycheck to start putting money aside.

Saving money isn’t about earning more — it’s about spending less. Trimming some expenses and cutting others altogether can add up to significant savings over time. With a few cost-conscious moves, you could cover all your financial bases and start saving money today.

Adopt a Frugal Lifestyle

Saving money doesn’t just happen; it starts with a commitment. Decipher your needs and wants, and limit how often you splurge on things you could do without. You may find you can get by — and live just as happily — with significantly fewer purchases.

When you feel like buying a new outfit or stereo system, simply take that money and put it into your savings account instead. Turn to alternative forms of entertainment — make dinner at home for friends, spend time outdoors instead of the mall, visit museums on free days. Treat yourself just once in a while, and those occasions will be all the more special.

Cut Easy Corners

Trimming everyday expenses can add up to significant savings over the course of a year. Try these money-saving ideas that won’t leave you feeling like you’re skimping.

  • Dine out less. Keep a stash of leftovers in the freezer to help you resist heading to a restaurant after a long day at work.
  • Buy only the groceries you need — and eat them. Think about the money you waste on produce that spoils and canned goods that collect dust.
  • Swap DVDs and books with friends or check them out from the library.
  • Visit a beauty school for discounted haircuts and spa treatments.
  • Cut commuting costs by carpooling, taking the bus or telecommuting.
  • Go generic with off-brand groceries, medications and clothing.
  • Use compact fluorescent light bulbs in your home. They’re more energy efficient and last longer.
  • Volunteer at fairs and festivals for free admission.
  • Switch to basic cable or drop it altogether — unless you really need hundreds of channels.

Bank It

It’s also a good idea to consistently put any unexpected money — an income-tax refund, a birthday present, overpayment on a bill — directly into savings. If you receive a pay raise, consider increasing your savings contributions or direct deposit.

A savings account at Navigator Credit Union can help you reach your savings goals. Call us today at 800-344-3281 or visit our Web site at www.navigatorcu.org.

22 Sep

What Do You Spend on Essentials?

How does your spending on essentials such as housing, food, transportation and health care compare to that of other Americans?

Check these figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics Consumer Expenditure Survey to find out.* The chart shows the percentage of income spent by Americans in each category, broken into five groups by annual income, each representing one-fifth of the total population.

chart of percentage of income spend by Americans for housing, food, transportation and health care

* Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics news release, April 2, 2015. Expenditures measured from July 2013 through June 2014.
26 Oct

Ready for Dating?

Have you reached an age where you feel ready to start dating? Before you head out to your first movie, you should be sure to discuss it with your parents. You can talk about expectations such as curfews, spending money and who you may date. Safety is another important topic you should cover with your parents. Be sure to consider the following ideas:

  • Have your parents drop you off and pick you up for the date.
  • Be sure to meet your date in a public place.
  • Talk to your date beforehand about who is paying for what.

You can have fun with your date without wiping out your wallet. Check out the cheap movie theater, go to a free zoo or meet for ice cream instead of dinner. You can also save your money in your savings account for future dates or time with friends.