Spending stimulus check, ways to save

May 14, 2008 10:18:45 AM PDT
Jason Tyler, senior vice president and a member of the Investment Committee at Ariel Mutual Funds, has some warnings about scams and money saving tips. Beware of Scams:

Never provide your social security number, bank account numbers or any personal information to anyone who doesn't have a specific need to know them.

Spending Stimulus Check:

So, now is the time when those of you who qualified for the economic stimulus rebate will be receiving your checks. The first payments were made on May 2nd and will continue throughout the summer. Retailers are waiting for consumers to start spending this refund, but do not feel obligated to turn around and spend this money. Before you splurge, take a look at your finances. I have said this many times before, the absolute first thing you should do is pay down any high interest debt you are carrying. The average American household has $9,000 in high interest debt. Paying this off should be your number one priority. Next, take advantage of this opportunity to increase your savings or open a mutual fund. The rebate for individuals is between $300 and $600 and married couples filing jointly, can expect to receive anywhere from $600 to $1,200. If you were to invest $1,200 in a mutual fund at 12%, in 15 years it would be worth over $6,500. However, leaving $1,200 outstanding on a credit card adds up to well over $3,000 in interest over that time frame.

  • Pay off high interest debt
  • Add to savings or mutual fund
  • $1,200 can turn into $6,500 over 15 years at 12%
Smart Ways to Save:

The Latte Factor

Every morning millions of people stand in line at their local Starbucks for an overpriced cup of coffee. Depending on the size, this morning caffeine fix can run you around $4.00, and even more if you add breakfast. Over a year, this daily trip will set you back around $1,500! This money can be put to much better use, whether it is paying off debt or increasing your savings account. Avoid becoming accustomed to this habit. Make coffee at home and only splurge on the gourmet kind once a week. You can buy a one pound bag of ground coffee beans for approximately $12.00, which will make between 30-40 cups of coffee.

  • One cup of coffee a day = $1,500 a year
  • One pound bag of coffee = approx. $12
Lunch

If you purchase your lunch every during the work week at $9.00 a day, that quickly adds up to $45 a day and over $2,300 a year! That is a lot of money that many people do not realize they are spending. Aside from all the extra calories that fast food contains, this money could be better spent. Again either paying off debt or increasing your savings. Although it takes a little more planning and effort on your part, make an attempt to bring your lunch and only dine out one day a week. Perhaps it could be something you look forward to on Fridays. You will definitely notice the savings.

  • Lunch at $9.00 a day = $2,300 a year
  • Limit dining out to one day week.
Bottled Water

Bottled water has become part of our everyday lifestyle. Despite the effect it has on both the environment and our wallets, we still seem to guzzle down several bottles every day. At $2.00 a bottle, this can cost you almost $730 a year. In just about all areas, the tap water is just as good for you as bottled and much safer for the environment. It is estimated that 2.7 millions tons of plastic are used to bottle water each year, not to mention the cost and energy it takes to transport all of this water.

  • Bottled water = $730 a year
  • Tap water= better for your wallet and the environment
Final Tip: Use Cash! -- Easy way to track spending and you won't be as tempted to part with it.

ARIEL INVESTMENTS
200 E. Randolph Dr., Ste. 2900, Chicago, IL 60601
312.726.0140
arielinvestments.com


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