SAN FRANCISCO - Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
SAN FRANCISCO - Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Money management is a struggle for many families in today’s economy. In spite of signs of improvement many families are still living paycheck to paycheck.

Why Is It So Hard To Save?

For many people it’s to live in the “here and now.” Live for today and tomorrow will take care of itself.  We need the new car, we need the big screen TV, and we need the snowmobile and cable, and smart phones. Really?

You really need all those things — I mean really, really need them? I think not.

At least not at the expense of saving something for the future.

How Much Should I Save?

If your take home pay is $12 an hour ($24,000 per year) you should be saving at least 10%, or around $240 a month.

Let’s round that down to $50 per week or $200 a month just for easy math. So somehow you need to save $6.67 per day for 30 days.

Track What You Spend

If you pick up a $5 latte on the way to work the problem is solved. Brew coffee at home and save $25 a week.

Look at your budget. List every bill that comes into your house for a month. Utilities, car payments, rent or mortgage, credit cards, medical, etc.

Where can you cut? Eliminating credit card bills is the same as getting a raise in pay.

Clipping coupons and buying food on sale is a great way to save each month. Look for ways to reduce your spending.

Consolidate car trips so you drive less; that can save big bucks when gas prices are high.

Who Saves The Most?

You might think it’s the people with the most money. It’s not. The middle class are the biggest savers of any of the income groups studied.

  • Those with households earning between $50-$75,000 a year save more than 15 percent of their income each payday.
  • Only 17 percent of those making $75,000 or more put that much away.
  • The lowest income saves the least. No real surprise there when money is tight, but at least 8 percent manage to save at least 15 percent of their incomes.
  • Ages 18-29 are the worst at saving. Eighteen percent save nothing at all and 37 percent save 5 percent or less. I guess you don’t have to save if you are invincible and will live forever.

Some Final Thoughts

People 65 or over are all over the place because of their varying incomes and health issues. Some are not able to save anything at all while there are those who prepared for retirement that can still put away the desired 15 percent.

I was a late bloomer when it comes to saving. I was one of the invincible ones who believed tomorrow should be dealt with tomorrow.

Thankfully, I woke up in time before I crossed the point of no return. I hope you will too.

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