Well, the real question is how far away is Thanksgiving? That day seems to be the day in which our benchmark of holiday savings must be met in order to cover the cost of the holidays and allow the shopping and eating frenzy to begin. Ugh! For some the day seems far away. So when the thought of saving now pops into our head we rationalize our thinking. Right now it’s easy to think that unbeknownst to myself at this early time in the year, is that large windfalls of cash will be bestowed upon me between now and Thanksgiving. Also, I will find super deals on everything I want to purchase because I am so frugal and I will not need as much money down the road anyway. So why worry? Besides March is usually the month I finish paying off last year's holiday expenses. The last thing I want to do is pay for next year starting in March. Time to take a break.
Every year I have these misguided thoughts about saving for the cost of the holidays. The truth is the windfalls never come and that I end up spending more than I ever thought I would. The only thing I banked was more worry.
OK, so I have 7 months to save and put an end to the January blues. When I analyze my spending over this time of year it actually is about the same every year even though I complain that it gets more costly every year. That amount divided by 7 put away monthly will make this cold winter much warmer.
Perhaps you may have a great method of saving for the holidays you would like to share. I would love to hear it.
In the meantime I will keep you posted on my goal.
PS. I am not crafty.
For the first time ever, imposter scams (when a crook pretends to be someone they’re not—usually a trusted family member, institution or organization) have surpassed identity theft scams as the second most reported. The first are debt collection scams, which received over twice as many complaints as imposter scams…so, watch out fake debt collectors! https://www.ftc.gov/news-events/press-releases/2017/03/ftc-releases-annual-summary-consumer-complaints?utm_source=govdelivery
But back to imposter scams: The FTC says that the rise in reporting “is due to an increase in complaints about government imposters.” And if you’ve ever gotten a call from a fake IRS “official” telling you to pay back taxes over the phone, then you’re all too familiar with this type of scam. (Note for tax season: The IRS will never ask you for money over the phone! And if you’re deaf, they won’t ask you for it over a video relay service either.)
Source: Consumer Action SCAM GRAM newsletter
Emergencies don’t have to be financial disasters; start saving now!
You’re laid off at work. Your car needs a new transmission. Your furnace blows. These are all costly emergencies that can’t usually be anticipated and cannot be avoided once they occur. Without a fund set aside just for such emergencies, they can trigger even greater disasters.
Last year, NeighborWorks America released the findings of its third annual consumer finance survey. Chief among them is the alarming fact that nearly a third of adult Americans (29 percent) have no emergency savings. Ninety-one percent of those with incomes of $100,000 reported holding emergency savings, compared to just 30 percent of who earn less than $20,000, 63 percent of those with incomes below $40,000 and 78 percent of those with incomes between $40,000 -$50,000.
There also were significant differences by race and education. The highest percentages of households without any emergency savings at all were reported by African-Americans, adults with lower incomes, and among those with a high school education or less.
A good rule of thumb is to have enough funds set aside to cover three to six months (some say four to seven) of living expenses. This will give you enough time, for instance, to find a new job or supplement your unemployment benefits until you do. However, anything in the bank is better than nothing — and $500 will get you out of many scrapes that would otherwise put you in the hole. In other words, start small if you have to, but start.
Here are a few tips:
Remember: Expenses you should be able to anticipate, such as holiday gifts and annual auto insurance payments, are not emergencies! One of the most common problems people have with emergency funds is forgetting to plan for one-time expenses each year.
Members of the NeighborWorks America network of nonprofit housing and community-development organizations offer financial education and coaching to help you follow these guidelines. Emergencies are upsetting enough. Don’t allow them to turn into financial catastrophes as well.
Source: NeighborWorks America
Buying an asset such as a home or obtaining an education or starting a small business has shown that wealth building begins at that point. Sometimes many of these items seem out of reach. There can be many barriers to remove to get started in this pursuit of asset building.
Where do you start?
As this is a blog about saving - of course it starts with saving money and having a budget and a spending and savings plan.
How do you know what will work?
Complete a free one-on-one housing or budget counseling session with The Home Center's certified HUD housing counselor. This will set your path forward and a give you a realistic timeline towards the end result. There are no income restrictions for the appointment and the session is free.
Please call the Home Center at 406-206-3422 to set your appointment today.
I am no Dave Ramsey but I have learned a little from some of my own mistakes. As an 80s graduate of the Father Guido Sarducci Five Minute University, I was highly sought after for low-level retail jobs at first. But when they dried up, I was forced to go back to school and get an additional degree in communications. Now I would still have a low-level retail job with with student loan debit to go along with it. Facing an uphill battle, I did the smart thing and started a family.