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Savings Guide 2006

Start saving

  Sage advice on starting and maintaining a savings strategy.
Building your emergency fund
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Tapping any retirement account for emergency funds is something you want to avoid unless there are no alternatives. You don't want your account to stop growing, or to give up matching funds and tax deferral, and you certainly don't want to pay penalties.

Budget-clipping tips
It's a Bankrate mantra, but one that works wonders when people stick with it: Quit using credit cards.

Credit cards are one of the most expensive forms of money. Unless you're in the habit of paying off your credit card bills each month, don't use the cards for anything you can eat or wear.

"Consolidate your debt. If you have several credit cards at 13-, 14-, 16-percent interest, fold them into a home equity loan and write off the interest payments," says Grzymala.

Experts also differ a bit on that one.

"A home equity loan, that's borrowing," says Cooper. "Use that option after using Roth contributions and, possibly, tapping into the equity in your life insurance."

Clearly, there are options that are riskier than others and an option that's appropriate and appealing to one person may make another person cringe.

Here are some suggestions for budget trimming:

It may not make you the most popular parent on the block, but you'll be doing your children a favor by teaching them to be frugal and to develop good spending habits.

Saving money on your own takes discipline but, like most other things, it becomes easier over time. The peace of mind that comes from knowing you have financial resources for when times are rough can be worth the sacrifices you make now.

Create a news alert for "savings" -- Posted: Oct. 1, 2006
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