The Cooperative Extension Service is one of the nation's largest providers of scientific research-based information and education. The Purdue University Cooperative Extension Service program areas are:
*Agriculture and Natural Resources
*Health and Human Sciences
*Economic and Community Development
Warrick county 4-H member Katelyn Mehling was recognized this week for her volunteer service by the Prudential Spirit of Community Award. Recipients of this award must demonstrate how they impact their community through service projects.
Katelyn's projects include a toy drive at Christmas and starting foreign language clubs at local elementary schools.
Take advantage of retirement benefits that your employer offers. Contributions come right out of your paycheck, making it easy to save. Some employers also match workers' contributions twenty-five cents, fifty cents, or even a dollar for every dollar saved. This is "free money" that should not be missed. For more information, see: http://bit.ly/fWpOBu.
Goals provide the motivation needed to reduce spending today to save for a secure tomorrow. Be specific with a date and dollar cost. An example is "save $8,000 for a used car in 4 years." Knowing your timeline can help you choose appropriate places for your money (e.g., CDs for short-term goals and stocks for goals 5+ years away). For more information, see: http://bit.ly/fWpOBu.
How do folks find the money to save...and ultimately invest? Try eliminating things that you can live without and changing spending habits. An example is brown bagging a lunch to work one or two days a week instead of eating out. Another is buying 12-packs of soda or bottled water on sale instead of using expensive vending machines. For more saving tips, visit: http://bit.ly/ASWTips.
Where do most people get the money to invest for future goals? Some receive lump sums, such as pension distributions, settlements, and inheritances. A few lucky people win the lottery or some other big prize. Most people, however, get money to invest the old fashioned way: they earn it and then they save it. Become an American Saver (it's free and motivational) at http://bit.ly/gliVkL.
Want to save 10 percent of your income? Spend 10 percent less on variable expenses such as clothing, gifts, entertainment, and food. Also determine if there are ways to reduce large expenses such as housing, income taxes, and insurance. Also become an American Saver at http://bit.ly/gliVkL.
It is important to have a reason to save; i.e., one or more specific financial goals (e.g., a new car costing $X in three years). Having something in mind for the eventual use of your money will increase your motivation to save. For additional ideas, check out the America Saves e-wealth coach Web site at Http://bit.ly/ASWCoach. Leading financial expers share tips for better saving.
One household expense where significant savings can often be found is the family food bill. The next time you go food shopping, take a good look at what's in the cart before checking out. Also be sure to compare the cost of store and manufacturer's berands and take advantage of coupons and special promotions. For more savings tips, visit: http://bit.ly/ASWTips.
Ask a financial planner how people can increase their savings and you're likely to hear the phrase "pay yourself first." This means setting aside money from each paycheck as soon as you earn it, rather than waiting to see what, if anything, is left at the end of the month. In other words, savings is a top priority in your budget like rent. Become an American Saver at http://bit.ly/gliVkL.
Get home energy tips from the U.S. Department of Energy for conducting a DIY home energy assessment. Learn simple tips for evaluating your home for air leaks, insulation, heating/cooling equipment, and lighting. An energy efficient home will save you money on your monthly utility bill.
Plan to attend the Spring 2012 Making a Difference Conference at Wood Memorial Junior High Cafeteria on April 9th at 6:00 p.m.(EDT). Conference sessions will be "Gardening for the Health of It", "Finding Humor in Our Irrational Thoughts", and "Savvy Shopping". The program includes a meal all at the cost of $10 per person. Please register by sending money to Perry County Extension Office, 125 S. 8th St., Cannelton, IN 47520.
What would you do if you suddenly lost your income? Could you pay your bills and provide for your family's needs for six months? Consider your liquid assets - or, what you can easily convert to cash. This could include savings accounts, money markets, or CDs. For tips on building your emergency fund, visit http://www.extension.org/pages/Building_an_Emergency_Fund.
Get to know your bank! Take time to research the services your bank provides, such as overdraft protection, online bill-pay, or mobile alerts, which notify you via a text message if your checking account falls below a certain amount. Also, consider going online to get 24-hour access to your accounts.
Do you participate in a work-related retirement savings program? According to America Saves, many employees turn down "free" money from their employer by not signing up for programs such as a 401 (k) plan. With a 50% match, you receive a 50% return on your investment! Sign up for your workplace savings plan and become an American Saver!
Divide the interest rate being earned on your savings into 72 to determine how long it will take. For example, with a 4% average annual return, $1,000 will double to $2,000 in 18 years. For more information about saving and investing topics from eXtension, the Cooperative Extension electronic information network, see http://bit.ly/fWpOBu.
Indulgences can put a dent in your finances. According to America saves, one way to establish a savings discipline is to "save" an amount equal to whatever is spent on nonessential items. Put a matching amount in a jar each time you splurge on designer coffee, etc. If you can't afford to save the matching amount, you can't afford the indulgence. For more savings tips, visit: http://bit.ly/fLuD29.
The America Saves program suggests that you review your purchases using credit and debit card receipts, bank statements, and/or online records. Then, ask yourself if you should reallocate some of this spending to an emergency savings account. For more savings tips, visit: http://bit.ly/fLuD29.
Save your loose change! According to America Saves, saving fifty cents a day over the course of a year will allow you to save nearly 40% of a $500 emergency fund. Remember, small changes equal big savings! For more information, visit http://bit.ly/fHbGQy.