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You can learn to win at the savings game

June 30, 1998|By Lynn F. Little

Have trouble saving? Many families have little or no savings and find the advice "be thrifty," "be disciplined," and "save regularly" is far easier given than taken.

Successful savers usually have devised a game, call it "savemanship," to siphon off extra money here and there. Here is a roundup of the savings games people play, or have used successfully in the past, to help save money. Learning to save is the tricky part - these games may help you get started!

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* " NATURALSIZEFLAG="0" ALIGN="BOTTOM"> The Branded Money Game: This is the method of emptying all your change into a jar. Every other month or so, fill wrappers with the pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters and deposit them into a savings account.

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* " NATURALSIZEFLAG="0" ALIGN="BOTTOM"> The Windfall Game: Whenever you receive unexpected money, put it into savings. Just finished paying off your car? Keep up the monthly payments your budget is used to, but pay it to your savings account.

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HEIGHT="6" ALT="* " NATURALSIZEFLAG="0" ALIGN="BOTTOM"> The Swap-A-Habit Game: Choose a temptation you'd like to resist. Kick this habit, bank the savings.

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* " NATURALSIZEFLAG="0" ALIGN="BOTTOM"> The Self-Service Game: Choose a chore you are paying someone else to do, but could do yourself or would like to learn to do. Take it on yourself. Put the actual cost into a savings account.

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* " NATURALSIZEFLAG="0" ALIGN="BOTTOM"> The Hiding Game: Have your bank take a certain amount out of your checking account and place it in your savings account every month, or sign up for a payroll deduction plan.

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* " NATURALSIZEFLAG="0" ALIGN="BOTTOM"> The Forced Savings Plan: Claim fewer exemptions for dependents on the W-4 employee withholding tax form you get at work. Eventually you will have a tax refund to bank.

No game can perform magic. A savings goal will help you play harder and better - it is easier to save when you have a reason. Any game, one suggested above or a better one you invent for yourself, can help to start or boost your savings account.

If you'd like a copy of "Managing Your Money and Learning to Save." send a self-addressed, stamped (55-cents) envelope to Maryland Cooperative Extension, Washington County Office, 1260 Maryland Ave., Hagerstown, Md. 21740. Mark the envelope "Savings."

Maryland Cooperative Extension Service's programs are open to all citizens without regard to race, color, sex, disability, age, religion or national origin.

Lynn F. Little is a family and consumer sciences extension educator for University of Maryland Cooperative Extension Service.

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