An act of kindness was all it took to inspire successful savings.

Transforming "I Can Save" to
"I Will Save"

Here, in her own words, is the story of Virginia Saver Christina Mele, who spent most of her life living paycheck to paycheck and is now saving successfully.

You will not believe what it took to completely change my life. About three years ago, the HR Administrator of the corporation where I worked (as a temp with no benefits) forwarded an email to me. Fifteen seconds. One small act of kindness. That's it - that's all it took!

The headline in that email asked, "Tired of living paycheck-to-paycheck?" and my answer "YES!" was the loudest silent scream I've ever let out. Having lived that way all my life - through college, through ten years of marriage, through raising two boys as a single mom, through two corporate layoffs, through a career change at the age of 48 - I had come to believe living paycheck-to-paycheck was normal. The email was about a ten-month program called BankOn Virginia Beach. A free chance to learn about saving, budgeting, understanding credit, and to find the focus and accountability I needed to make a change. .

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Family Wealth Facts

According to the 16th annual holiday spending survey conducted by the Consumer Federation of America and Credit Union National Association in November, those who said they had sufficient “extra funds” to “pay for an unexpected expense of $1,000” continued to increase:
                2012    2013    2014    2015

Yes        49%     49%     50%     54%

No          50%     49%     47%     44%

Click here to view press release.

Campaign News

America Saves Launches New America Saves Week Website

As someone who has pledged to save, you know that America Saves supports you with resources, tips, and motivation. To spread that support even further, each year we (along with the American Savings Education Council) coordinate America Saves Week, coming up February 22-27, 2016. Our newly launched America Saves Week website provides tools for organizations, government agencies, credit unions, and banks to help more individuals save successfully – just like you!

Six Simple Steps to Jump-start Your Emergency Fund

Saving several months’ worth of living expenses for an emergency fund can be intimidating, especially when it feels like all of your available cash is already accounted for each month. Better Money Habits offers these six simple steps to help you get started building a reserve of cash — bringing with it greater financial security and peace of mind.

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A Quarter Saved...

Is a Quarter Earned

No one knows better than Savers how to find the extra dollar here and quarter there that, over time, add up to substantial savings.

Here are a few of their favorite savings tips —
Be intentional with your dollars each month by doing a monthly budget and give each dollar a name on paper with purpose. You want to give each dollar an assignment, so you can track how you are doing with your budget at any time.
- Ann Arbor, MI
Three years ago, I started filling an empty growler bottle with every single coin I had at the end of the day. I penalized myself 400% for taking any change out. Eventually, I stopped using change to buy things. Now, I'm handing two one dollar bills over for something that costs $1.03 - just so I can go home and fill the jar a little more! Not only did I stop raiding the change jar, I now have saved over $1,200 and bought coin rolling funnels to sort it out.

Start small, it gets better. I'm now sticking occasional $20's in my fifth growler.
- Talkeetna, AK
My father always said pay yourself first. If you wait until you have extra money, you will never save anything. He was so right. The first bill I pay is to myself. I take 5 percent of any paycheck and that goes in our savings. I have been doing this for years, and it is amazing how it does add up. My advice to anyone is to set a realistic amount to save and follow what you set. It really does work.
- Loudonville, OH
I make saving money automatic by having a certain amount deducted from my pay and direct deposited into my regular savings account. For the rest, I treat it like a bill by writing a check for a certain amount each payday and mailing it to the credit union even though the credit union is in my town. I find that treating it like it's a bill that must be paid helps me to save more money every month.
- Pittsburg, KS
I started my savings account after realizing that I didn't have any savings to cover an unexpected financial cost, be it a home repair, vehicle repair or the like. It was eye opening when I brought in some bagels for a class I attended and the instructor commented on how "generous" I was. I thought the comment to be a bit odd, but did not understand why she had said that until the class focused on emergency funds. I did not have one and was embarrassed. Just saving as little as the cost of the bagels was enough to start that emergency fund. That was it - I did it! I now have an emergency fund and a vacation fund, and it feels really good!
- San Jose, CA
Do not pay other debts with debt, such as using your credit card to pay off another credit card. This only gets you into further trouble.
- Spencerport, NY

Local Campaign Highlights

Across the country, campaigns are continuing to spread the word about savings and financial responsibility in a variety of ways. Read highlights from the following campaigns:
  • Inland Empire Saves
  • Point Loma Nazarene University Saves
  • Virginia Saves

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Volume 15, Issue 4
In This Issue:
  • Transforming "I Can Save" to "I Will Save"
  • Family Wealth Facts
  • Campaign News
  • Six Simple Steps to Jump-start Your Emergency Fund
  • A Quarter Saved…Is a Quarter Earned
  • News from Local Campaigns

Send Us Your Savings Tips:

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American Saver Editor
Sara Cooper
American Saver is the quarterly newsletter of the America Saves campaign, a national campaign to encourage and assist Americans to save money, reduct debt, and build wealth more effectively.

The campaign is coordinated by the non-profit Consumer Federation of America (CFA), supported by national foundations, and advised by dozens of non-profit, government, and business groups. A generous grant from Bank of America Charitable Foundation supports the publication and distribution of the American Saver.
Copyright © 2015 Consumer Federation of America / America Saves, All rights reserved.

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