Savings Extend Past Week-long Event
If you were around the food court, Liberty Lounge or Halsey Gym between Feb. 25 and March 2 you may have seen Military Saves Week representatives out and about spreading their messages.
Military Saves Week is used as a component of America Saves in partnership with the Department of Defense’s financial readiness campaign to motivate, support and encourage military families to save money, reduce debt and build wealth, according to Militarysaves.org.
Naval Air Facility (NAF) Atsugi’s Community Bank Banking Service Center Manager Alex Breuer said though the week-long initiative is over, money saving is a life-long discipline.
“In a nutshell, it is a combined effort between all the necessary parties here on base to just get the word out to people to save money,” said Breuer. “It’s never about selling our products and services. It’s an event where everybody gets together and just says ‘hey, you just got to save money and here are the tools for doing it.’”
Breuer said that people should be aware of different factors such as planning for kids going to college, retirement and emergencies when setting savings goals.
“One of my absolute favorite things for people to do is to have an automatic transfer go from their checking into their savings,” said Breuer. “Nothing is going to happen unless they open up a savings account and put the money in there.”
Breuer used the example of a person having $2,000 going into their account every month and then transferring $500 to their savings that after two to three months people typically find that they have worked out how to manage all their bills and budgeting with just $1500.
“You’ve grown accustomed to $1,500 and at the end of a year you’ll have $6,000 in savings,” said Breuer.
Once a savings account has been established it’s time to work on budgeting and savings goals. Every person has a different financial situation, and should take the time to look over their finances and their purpose for saving.
To set up a budget, you need to know what your income is per month and then mark down all your outgoing expenses such as bills, groceries, entertainment and savings.
“Every month go back to your previous budget and compare it to what you actually spent,” said NAF Atsugi’s Navy Federal Credit Union (NFCU) Assistant Manager Lauren Francis. “Did you really stick to that budget? Maybe next month you need to modify it a bit or you just need to be more considerate of the budget and stick to it.”
The third tool for saving money is to managing debt. Credit cards and student loans can have a high interest that can continue to grow, costing you more using a personal loan to pay off some of those with high interest.
“If your interest rate is somewhere between 15 percent or higher and you can take a loan out, even if it’s at 10 percent interest, you are still saving 5 percent which can be huge savings,” said Breuer.
Francis recommends a snowball approach in paying off loans or credit cards. Start by paying off the loan or credit card with the highest interest first and then continue with the next highest until all the debts are paid off.
Fleet and Family Support Center offers financial management workshops throughout the year or for a more one-on-one approach, a financial counselor is available, and an appointment can be made by calling 264-3372.
NAF Atsugi’s Community Bank and NFCU have customer service representatives available to help you in reaching your financial goals.
Militarysaves.org is another resource. Here you can sign up to receive more information about saving money, take the saver pledge offered during Military Saves Week, receive e-mails with tips, goal saving strategies and links for youth and adults to develop good saving habits.
“The ways to save are out there,” said Breuer. “You just have to look at your own situation and start identifying those things.”