You can SAVE $1,500 THIS YEAR
Finding money in your budget is easier than you think. Some estimates of yearly savings from small changes:
Save 50 cents a day in loose change: $180
Bring lunch to work: $720
Eat out two fewer times a month: $360
Pay off $1,000 of credit card debt, reducing interest: $180
Use coupons at the commissary: $60
Want to save more this year? In honor of Military Saves Week I'm sharing some painless ways to get started.
Military Saves Week kicks off Feb. 25 with the theme, "Set a goal. Make a plan. Save automatically."
At http://militarysaves.org/">MilitarySaves.org, you'll find ways to eke savings out of your budget, advice on getting out of debt, preparing for emergencies, planning for a large purchase, saving for retirement and more.
Since Military Saves began in 2007, more than 310,000 people have taken the campaign's pledge. This year, for the first time, you can re-pledge to save, said Andia Dinesen, Military Saves coordinator for Consumer Federation of America, which organizes the overall campaign.
Pledging this week gets active-duty service members and their spouses a free myFICO credit score, courtesy of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority Investor Education Foundation; a free subscription to the monthly Military Saves e-newsletter; and quarterly e-newsletters from America Saves.
Many banks and credit unions on military installations are taking part in the Military Saves campaign by offering special promotions and incentives for saving. Check with a financial institution on your base or others listed at MilitarySaves.org for special deals for those who take the pledge. Here are a few:
• Active-duty members eligible for membership in Belvoir Federal Credit Union, Va., can open a certificate of deposit earning an annual percentage rate of 10 percent. Since the certificate is limited to a six-month term, and your total deposits can't exceed $1,000, you'd earn up to $50. Go https://www.belvoircreditunion.org/military-saves-special">here to learn more.
That stacks up pretty well compared with the average 85 cents you would earn on a six-month certificate elsewhere. The national average yield on six-month CDs is 0.17 percent, according to bankrate.com.
• Those eligible for membership in Navy Federal Credit Union can earn a $100 Individual Retirement Account bonus for opening their first IRA with Navy Federal. A $50 minimum deposit is required.
• From Feb. 25 through March 2, active-duty troops and their family members eligible for membership in Service Credit Union who open a Military Saves account can earn a 2 percent return on balances up to $2,500, guaranteed until Nov. 30, with monthly automatic deposits of at least $25 to the account.