As America Saves Week Kicks off, Experts Remind Consumers That Every Little Bit Counts

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On February 23, a national campaign kicked off, aimed at getting Americans to save more money. For those who missed it, however, there is still time to take advantage of savings tips from professionals.

America Saves Week coincides with Military Saves Week, both of which promote good savings habits for people in the United States. As of Feb. 2, the national savings rate was only at 4.9%, which could use a boost.

Some resources Americans can look into are websites where people can pledge to save more. The sites send users text messages and newsletters with savings tips and other small reminders.

Experts also weighed in this week to give Americans tips on saving more money.

Dee Lee, a certified financial planner, recommended to CBS Boston readers that they make their own coffee or tea in the morning to cut down on expensive lattes and other drinks. Lee also recommended other simple steps for the morning routine, like eating breakfast at home.

That can add up, she said. Assuming that the average person can save $3 per day making coffee and breakfast at home, that’s $15 per week or $750 per year (for 50 work weeks).

That money could be used to increase 401(k) contributions; assuming an 8% return in 20 years, that’s $35,000 in a retirement fund. Thirty years could lead to more than $85,000, and in 40 years workers could see as much as $200,000 in extra money in those accounts.

Another way to save money is to take advantage of electronic billing, or e-billing. This service, offered by most consumer goods and services companies, allows for easier expense tracking and can save customers money by helping them avoid late fees and costs on postage.

“The Color of Money” columnist Michelle Singletary wrote on Feb. 24 that more people are saving, according to the annual America Saves Week survey.

According to the survey, personal saving has increased in the past year, from 68% of participants saving money last year to 71% in the past year. People who responded by saying that they save 5% or more of their income increased from 52% over the past year from 47% in the previous survey.

Younger people are also saving, mostly by spending less money, according to a 2013 JPMorgan Chase survey. More than half of consumers between the ages of 18 and 34 said they saved more by spending less, and 30% spent less by taking advantage of coupons and other deals.

But that savings didn’t always translate to putting money in the bank. The JPMorgan Chase survey found that only one in five young people were saving more because they were putting away a larger percentage of their income.

For some Americans, a lack of income can be a detriment to savings. However, Singletary leaves readers with a word of advice on the matter: “Don’t let all the scolding about your emergency fund deficiency or debt load discourage you from saving what you can.”

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