Learn how to earn and save money

September 06, 2012|Lynn Little

Money. Most people need to earn it, everyone seems to enjoy spending it, and it is also important to build wealth by saving it. Many people think saving is hard or that saving feels like they are depriving themselves. Often, money can be saved by doing something differently, rather than doing without. 

Building wealth takes time and every little bit helps. If you can save small amounts of money on a regular basis, you will build wealth. 

Think of savings and building wealth as "paying yourself." Treat "paying yourself" as one of your regular weekly or monthly bills. There are lots of individuals who want your money; however, it is important to also keep money in your possession. The Pay Yourself First strategy helps you do that. Pay Yourself First is a wonderful way to start building wealth and it feels better than always paying someone else first. 

How do you save a dollar when you feel like you don't have a dime to spare? When it comes to savings, small lifestyle changes can lead to big savings. 

  •  Save change in a jar:  25¢ a day = $91.25 a year. 
  •  Buy generic or larger quantities: $5 every two weeks = $130 a year. 
  •  Pay bills on time to avoid late charges:  $10 a month = $120 a year. 
  •  Substitute a glass of water for one can of soda/day:  75¢ a day = $273.75 a year. 
  •  Bring your lunch to work two times a week:  $6 a week= $312 a year. 

To learn more about savings, visit the America Saves Web site at  and click on savings strategies.

A savings account for emergencies is an excellent first savings goal. Grandpa's advice to set money aside for a rainy day is still sound financial advice. Even with interest rates at an all-time low, savings is still important to decrease debt. 

If you have a $1,000 emergency occur, and you have no savings to cover it, you are likely to put that expense on a credit card. If you plan to repay that expense over time, the emergency has now cost more than the original $1,000.  Taking that $1,000 expense from a savings account that earned interest is a financially sound method that will use less of your money. 

Building wealth starts when you set a goal and make a plan to reach that goal.  Whatever goal you choose — whether it's buying a car, buying a house or getting out from under your debts, you will be two times more likely to be a successful saver if you have a specific savings plan.  An easy way is to pay yourself first each month (or week). Grow your money into wealth that will work for you. 

The following online resources will give you more savings strategies and ideas: 

Lynn Little is a family and consumer sciences educator with University of Maryland Extension in Washington County.

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