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Utah Saves Challenge: Commit to savings or debt reduction goal

By | Posted - Feb. 23, 2011 at 6:15 a.m.

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Wednesday's Challenge:Today's challenge is to commit to a savings or debt reduction goal such as opening a savings account, adding to your existing account, or opening a college savings account. To begin, join and then share your commitment on our daily poll at

Take the savings pledge with one or more of the following actions:
  • Open a savings account for yourself or children
  • Add to your savings account for
    • Emergencies
    • Future major purchases
  • Open a college savings account
  • Invest in a retirement account

Saving money can be easier said than done. Preston Cochrane with AAA Fair Credit Foundation and Ann House from USU Extension joined us to talk about easy things that will result in hundreds of dollars saved at the end of the year.

House said learning how to save comes in saying you're going to do it.

"New research from the Consumer Federation of America shows that those who plan save over twice as much as those who don't. The trick is to start slowly. Like a restrictive diet, we will fail if we make sudden changes," she said.

For example, if you eat out every day at the office, start by not ordering a drink. That will save you $1 to $2.50 a day, which is $750 a year and $7,304 over 10 years. Then take another step by eating out three days a week and bringing lunch from home the other days.

Research shows that we live on what we make and if we don't see it, we won't miss it. Cochrane said people can capitalize on that.

"Do automatic savings by direct depositing savings into a savings account. has a ‘goal tracker' where you can manage your saving progress," he said.

Consumer savings is on the rise. Households who "pay themselves first" increased from 41 percent to 44 percent this year.

Research also shows people who make more than $50,000 a year have emergency savings for up to three months, they have retirement savings, and they seem more prepared than those who make less.

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