According to the Consumer Federation of America, women who live alone or head their own households save far less money than the average American family. The median household income for the single woman, according to a 2007 survey, was reported to be $22,592 compared to the average American family which was $43,130. Obviously, single women don’t have the advantage of a second income from a spouse or partner so their working with much less than the average American household. But what was also interesting is that 68% of Black women bought what they wanted no matter the state of the economy, according to an ING Foundation Survey. What’s more, it’s reported that less than half of the “never married” group don’t have a savings account at all, while those that did held about $1,100. This may not be enough to cover a financial emergency and it’s definitely not enough to live off of should you lose your job.
While it’s not only crucial to start saving for a financially sound future, it’s important to build some savings to help weather this economic storm and always continue to build upon your savings. We don’t know when the current recession will end or when it will happen again.
Following are a few tips to help you find money to start saving or help you amp up what you already have in savings.
Tip: Get a planner or notebook and keep track of what you save everyday. This will motivate you to find new and interesting ways to save even more money.
* Open an Individual Development Account. An Individual Development Account, or IDA, is a matched savings program for those who earn a modest income. Every dollar you deposit in an IDA account will be matched equally or maybe more. To find out if you qualify to open an IDA, get more information, and find a program in your area, visit www.cfed.org.
* Downgrade your living quarters. If you have no kids, think about temporarily downgrading to an efficiency suite until the economy gets better. You can fix efficiency suites up nicely with colorful bedding, large throw pillows, matching rugs, swanky beanbag chairs and wall art or framed posters. Be creative and let your inner interior designer do the work.
* Consider a roommate. Save money by taking in a roommate. Not only will you save money but you’ll help someone else save money in this economy as well. You’ll also get help with housekeeping.
* Skip Dinner. When planning to go out with friends, suggest breakfast or lunch. The menu items tend to be cheaper than they are during dinner times.
* Use public transportation. Pull out your new cape, boots with the fur and get on the bus! Gas has gone back down to affordable prices, but you could save even more money just by using public transportation a few times or more a week.
* Delay saving for your children’s college education. Consider this: Your children can apply for grants and compete for scholarships to pay for their education. In addition to working, there are also loan programs they can apply for. Your child can build the much needed credit they’ll need in the real world paying back the loan(s) they take out. There are no loans or grants available for retirement. You can always start saving for your child’s college education again when you make more money or take out a parent loan to help out when the time comes.
* Get entertainment at home for free. Why spend money on going out to the movies when you probably already invest in internet service and premium cable channels every month? Don’t forget the large stack of DVD’s you’ve bought over the years.
* Host movie night at your place. Invite friends over for movies and/or games. Have each person bring their favorite snacks or drink and movie or game of their own so there’s plenty of entertainment to choose from. It’s a low-cost way to see movies you haven’t seen before and connect with friends.