Celebrate your debt payoff with a party! 

Bill Burning Parties Should Be Trending

by Alberlynne "Abby" Harris, South LA Saver

After participating in a February 2016 America Saves - South LA Saves event, I set out to pay off one of my credit card bills by the end of the year. This card was my very first -- I remember signing up for it under a white tent in the quad of my undergrad university. Over the years I was diligent about paying the minimum payment due on time. Without realizing it, I amassed a bill near $8,000. I kept paying the minimum payment due, but ignored the interest. I've had this card for more than twenty years. About five years ago, I decided to cut it up and just focus on paying down the debt. Last year, I decided to triple my payment and place it on automatic withdrawal for the monthly payment. It was still there. A given in my life.

What the America Saves - South LA Saves event gave me was confidence in myself that I could get out of debt. By pledging to save toward my goal of paying off a credit card bill that was now about $2,500, I felt an overwhelming sense of empowerment. I initiated a few behaviors that have now become habits:
  1. I check my bank balance and activity daily.
  2. I operate from a weekly budget, depositing extra money into my savings account specifically for paying off debt.
  3. I became comfortable with making online and phone payments. Transferring funds and dialing in payments was less stressful for me than writing a check. I made additional payments before and after the payment due date to accelerate the process based on my weekly budget savings.
  4. I placed pride and celebration instead of sadness or loss on making larger payments to push towards paying off my debt. 
 As of June 2016, 6 months before the initial time line that I set, I am overjoyed to have a zero balance on the card I was paying off. I saved the last bill sent showing the zero balance, and I'm planning an "End of Summer, End of Debt" bill burning party to share my story and encourage others to do the same. I am officially in the debt snowball with another credit card next on the chopping block. Who knows, there may be an "End of Debt" bill burning party to close out this amazing year. 

This amazing savings story was shared courtesy of Alberlynne "Abby" Harris, a South LA Saver.

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 —
Don't forget to be patient with yourself when saving money. Similar to losing weight or making a major lifestyle change, it takes of time, energy and hard work, but the end result will be worth it!
- Danville, PA
Beginning in January 2015, I decided to save every $5 bill that came into my possession. This was convenient for me when I was working in the service industry where I was tipped on a daily basis. Even when I stopped working that job, I continued to stash my Lincolns. By the end of 2015, I was able to save roughly $1,800! I was able to purchase a laptop and books for school. $1,800 might not seem like a lot to some, but for an 18-year-old just entering their first year of college, it was a major boost to my finances.
- Raleigh, NC
My story is probably like many others: we moved to a new area, and I could not find a job. I went to dozens of interviews for jobs I was more than qualified for and still, nothing. So, I took all my knowledge of living frugally and put it to work learning to live off of one income.

The most amazing thing came from it. We learned we could live, and comfortably, off one income. Over a year into my job search, I finally got the job I had been waiting for - truly my dream job. We have relaxed a little on the frugality, but we are blessed to save and invest more than 75% of my check each month.

I highly recommend trying to live off one income, even if only for a short time. You'll see where you can save money and spend less, and you may never go back to the way you were before!
- Axton, VA
Participating in America Saves Week really kickstarted our financial action plan! Posting my picture on social media and exclaiming our family goal to see Hawaii in the next five years gave me enough motivation to actually start a savings account for that goal and start putting away enough money monthly to actually meet it! We are so excited to see the account grow each month and know that it means a new and exciting adventure is in the future for our family!
- Fredericktown, MO
Challenge yourself to save more each month than you did the prior month. If you decide that you will save $25 each month, increase the amount you save by a penny each month (so that you transfer $25 from your checking to your savings account the first month, $25.01 the next month, $25.02 the next month, and so forth). You won't miss the extra penny that you save each month and you will feel great knowing that you are increasing the amount you save each month!
- Austin, TX
Volume 16, Issue 2
In This Issue:

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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.

Questions about how to start a local savings campaign in your area should be directed to
Lindsay Ferguson,
Copyright © 2016 Consumer Federation of America / America Saves, All rights reserved.

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