Improve Your Personal Finances With Small Sums of Money
You don't need a big income to save or invest. Much financial progress can be made with small dollar amounts. Consider the following examples that include multiples of the numbers 2, 5, 25 and 50:
· Save 25 cents a day and you'll have $91.25 at year's end (this is a great goal for children).
· Save $2.50 a day and you'll have $912.50 at year's end, plus interest.
· Save $250 per month and you'll have $3,000 at year's end, plus interest.
· Consider increasing your contribution to a tax-deferred retirement plan by 2% or 5%. The easiest time to do this is when you get a salary increase or when a household expense, like child care or tuition or a car loan, ends.
· Spend $25 for tax preparation software or reference tools so you don't miss any deductions. Better still, order IRS Publication 17, Your Federal Income Tax, for $0. Visit www.irs.gov or order a copy from Eastern Area Distribution Center, P.O. Box 85074, Richmond, VA 23261-5074.
· Save your tax refund. The average refund last year was about $2,000. If you save $2,000 a year for 10 years and earn 7% interest, you'll have almost $28,000 in 2013.
· Sign up for a mutual fund automatic investment plan and authorize the mutual fund to debit your bank account monthly by $25, $50, or $250 to purchase shares. You can also do this with over a thousand publicly traded companies that sell stock directly to investors. For a current list of companies with stock purchase plans, visit www.netstockdirect.com
· Sign up for the U.S. Government's savings bond purchase plan for individual investors called EasySaver. The minimum purchase amounts for EE bonds and inflation-adjusted I bonds, respectively, are $25 and $50.
· Attend Rutgers Cooperative Extension's full day personal finance conference on May 3 in Morris Township. It will be one of ten regional events to kick off "Save For Your Future Month." The registration fee is $25. Visit www.rce.rutgers.edu/money2000 for conference details and to sign up for our free America Saves savings motivation program.
· Request a PowerPay debt reduction analysis from Rutgers Cooperative Extension. We'll print you a calendar showing the fastest way to pay off existing debts. When a creditor is paid off, the monthly payment is added to remaining debts, thereby saving time and interest, sometimes thousands of dollars. The cost of an analysis is $2.50. Call 973-579-0985 for a worksheet.
· Pay more than the minimum due on credit cards...in multiples of "2," "5," and "0," of course. Consider this example from the book Slash Your Debt. If you owe $5,000 on a credit card charging 17% interest with a 2% (of the outstanding balance) minimum payment, it will take $16,304 and 40 years to pay it off. Add just 25 cents a day (less than $8 a month) more to your payment and you'll save $4,148 of interest and 19 years of payments.