According to a 2012 survey by the National Retail Foundation, 4 out of 10 Americans planned on using their return to pay down debt. 28.7% planned on using it for everyday expenses while over 33% were going to use it as “free money” to spend on a large purchase, such as a car or a vacation. But by far the best idea is to have a concrete plan for your tax refund.
PERSONAL FINANCIAL PREPAREDNESS IN UNCERTAIN ECONOMIC TIMES
• How to plan for financial changes• How to increase cash flow• Resources for support• Savings strategies
• Determine how much of an impact a furlough will have on your personal finances? Evaluate the situation and its entirety… • Run the numbers with your current budget • Work from your obligated expenses first • Incorporate other expenses on a priority basis
• Talk with your family about how things may change • Brainstorm as a family how to absorb the shortfall to ensure everyone is on board • Lights • H2O • Laundry • Gas in the car-maximizing trips • Eating out • Explore new entertainment ideas that save money
• Avoid spending more on the extra days that you have off from work…DON’T GO SHOPPING!• Change your tax withholdings number: the more exceptions you claim the less money the IRS takes each pay period.• Temporarily lower TSP contributions• Temporarily reduce other investment contributions such as bonds, mutual funds, etc.
• Meal planning can save hundreds of dollars at the grocery store.• Online resources that make planning easy and cost effective. • http://www.foodonthetable.com/meal_pl anning • Create menu for the week • Then a grocery list will be provided • Coupons available for items on grocery list • Detailed grocery list by aisle at designated grocery store
• 25% Savings. Do Not Buy Your Toiletries at Grocery Stores• Studies show that grocery stores mark up toiletries 25% or more when compared to discount drug stores or big box retailers, like Wal-Mart. In addition to that, many national drug stores continue to offer great customer loyalty programs which can include rebate checks and savings for future purchases.
• 40% Savings on Your Annual Grocery Costs… Store Brands! The days of bland tasting food and generic type packaging for those in store brand products is over.• Most companies have worked very hard to greatly improve their private-label brands products and often the taste is equal to the name brand, national brands. Never be afraid to experiment, as this can lead to much lower grocery bills.
• Make coffee at home and/or work: 1 cup of Starbucks 5 days a week costs $912/year.• UTILITIES-Adjust thermostat by 1 or 2 degrees • According to the Energy Information Administration doing so could save up to $1000/yr• Take a smoking cessation class-On average $2500-$3200 spent on cigarettes per year/person.
• Auto loan refinance. Potentially lower your interest rate by a few percentage points to save thousands of dollars over the life of your auto loan• Shop for a new insurance policy and continually get new quotes!
• Raise your deductible. If you have a low $200 deductible on your car insurance policy, raising it to $500 could lower the cost you are paying for collision and comprehensive coverage by up to 30%. To save even more on your bills, raising your deductible to $1,000 could lower your premium by 40% or more.
• Take A Hardship Loan from Investments: Not ideal but could help in a rough time www.tsp.gov• Negotiate With Lenders: It’s in their best interest to help you make your payments, even if it means a lower interest rate or extending the terms.• Air Force Aid Society may be an option if you are married to an active duty member-interest free loans www.afas.org
• 1. Turn off the television: Premium cable and satellite subscriptions can cost anywhere from $500 to over $1,000 per year or more.• 2. Trim your subscriptions: Magazines, DVD Rental, & Gym memberships-Do you really use or need all of them?• 3. Avoid banking fees: Banks are regularly changing their products and you may be paying a monthly fee.• 4. Pay your bills on time: These fees can be substantial, ranging anywhere from a few dollars to $40 or more.• 5. Keep eating lunch out at a minimum: Did you know that spending only $6 a day on lunch while at work can cost nearly $800 per year? If both spouses are doing this…. $1,600 per year just on lunch!
FINANCIAL SUPPORT RESOURCES• Federal Employee Education and Assistance Fund. No-interest loans of up to $1,000 are available to assist with individual emergency situations such as loss of income. www.feea.org• Employee Assistance Program- Improving the health, safety, and productivity of our Federal employees www.foh4you.com.
• www.needhelppayingbills.com/index. html • Click on Illinois • Scroll through the many financial support services available in Illinois • General Assistance Program: Provides families and people with emergency funds, cash grants and also limited medical care to help take care of themselves • AND….
ILLINOIS CRISIS ASSISTANCE• Crisis Assistance Organizations such as the Illinois Department of Human Services and other social service agencies offer a number of grants and cash assistance programs. Find help with medical bills, housing, food, and job training• www.needhelppayingbills.com THIS IS A GREAT RESOURCE!
ILLINOIS FINANCIAL PROGRAMS• Rental Housing Support Program The state of Illinois Rental Housing Support assistance program is the nation’s largest state run rental assistance program and it helps thousands of people pay their rent each month.• 312-386-1009
UTILITY SUPPORT• Ameren - Hardship Assistance for Residential Customers• Nicor Gas Assistance This program was created specifically to help customers who can’t afford to pay their heating or energy bills.• Illinois utility bill and energy assistance programs… Illinois families may qualify for financial assistance to pay their utility bills • Over 15 different programs available in IL
FOOD BANKS• Free Food Banks Hundreds of food banks throughout Illinois provide free or low cost food, groceries, and other non-financial support to residents of the state. These are in addition to programs offered in your county. • http://www.stlfoodbank.org/
OTHER FOOD SUPPORT PROGRAMS• Angel Food Ministries: Non-profit charity organization that offers nutritional and food assistance programs in all 50 states. While they do not provide free food, what they do is offer all people, no matter their income or financial situation, low cost groceries and food. The services they offer provide food at about 50% off the retail price, and it is available in unlimited quantities.• Treasure Valley Food Box: National organization that provides food boxes to anyone who needs help, regardless of their income, background, religion, or age. The name of the program administered is the Good Faith Food box, and it can provide families with groceries and food valued at about $60. However the food box will only cost individuals about $35.
GIBALLI FOOD PROGRAM• No income requirements• Can help people save up to 70% on their grocery bill • Top quality hearty country meals meat, chicken, fish, and produce is offered. • 305-705-7257
SALVATION ARMY• Crisis Assistance If you are faced with unexpected bills or need help paying for basic needs like food, rent, and more, the Salvation Army operates across Illinois.• The Salvation Army of Illinois may be able to offer you transportation assistance in the form of free gasoline vouchers or bass passes/tokens.
ST CLAIR COUNTY SUPPORT• Help with heating and air conditioning bills• Mortgage Help• St. Clair County Community Action Agency: one of the leading non-profits in the area. Counselors may be able to help you with apply for programs that provide financial assistance, and they are definitely a great place to learn about your options and various programs. (618) 277-6790
ST CLAIR COUNTY CONT….• The St. Clair County Community Services Division (phone 277-6790) offers Emergency Food and Shelter, Rent and even Mortgage Payment Assistance, government grants from the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), and more.
FEDERAL OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH• Improving the health, safety, and productivity of federal employees • The Financial Services program is a free benefit offered to you by your agency. • 1-800-222-0364 • www.FOH4You.com
• Look at this time as an opportunity to work on a financial goal• Discover ways to be more thrifty that can be used for a long period of time.• Make these new changes your NEW NORM• Make it a family affair that everyone is excited about. Turn it into a game…..How much can we save this week?
A&FRC SERVICES• One-on-one financial support • Budgeting • Debt reduction plan • Credit score and reports • Investing • Friends of Military Families -Budgeting worksheets available at www.scottafrc.com
BOTTOM LINE• Stay Motivated• Maintain a positive attitude• Keep realistic expectations• This presentation will be available at www.scottafrc.com (Under Personal Financial Readiness tab)• “Go forward without fear.” – Abraham Lincoln
WORDS OF INSPIRATION“Go forward without fear.” – Abraham Lincoln
Airman & Family Readiness Center 404 W. Martin Street 256-8668 www.scottafrc.com