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Coin Jar

Feminist Finance is a great blog for women looking for solid financial tips, tricks and info.

One great post posits, like many other financial experts, that each of us should have enough savings to cover living expenses for three to six months. However, in today’s economy, with heightened job insecurity and the rising cost of living, this seems like an enormous challenge.

Hamilton has been especially hard hit during this recession and many women their families have seen their incomes dramatically decreased, if not totally disappeared.

The blog’s author notes that saving three to six months of living expenses might be daunting, so she shares a tip that she suggests might “change your life” …in her own words:

Your first goal should be to get $500 into a savings account. Liz Pulliam Weston (who might be my favorite money writer, BTW) reports on a recent study done by Stephen Brobeck for the Consumer Federation of America. Brobeck focused on low-income households (earning less than $25,000/year) and moderate income households (earning less than $50,000/year) households and found that for each category, household that had at least $500 in savings had measurably better financial, psychological, and physical health outcomes.

 Some ideas for where you could find $500 to put into savings:
– a tax refund
– a gift
– a part-time job
– a raise (if they don’t offer, ask for it!)
– selling unused items on ebay, a used book store, or a consignment store
– save all your change, or all your loonies and toonies
– find cheaper car insurance/phone plan/renters insurance/internet and pocket the difference
– cash in aluminum cans for the deposit
– a rebate or credit card reward check
– get a roommate 
– do surveys online through mysurvey.com or pinecone
– bike or walk more, drive or bus less

These are all great tips and with some discipline and cost cutting, most women will eventually be able to save $500. Paying yourself first is a great way to cut back on money stress and can help create a cushion in these tough economic times. If Brobeck’s study is correct, saving $500 can lead to improved psychological and physical health…and that is priceless.

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