‘Military Saves Week’ focuses on financial resiliency

| February 19, 2015 | 0 Comments
Ayanna Whitsides (second from right), a Financial Readiness Program volunteer, and Roshetta Carson, an Army Emergency Relief Program specialist (right), provide Spc. Jose Cruz Gomez and his wife, Luz Garcia, with financial resource materials, while their son, Josiel Cruz, looks on, Feb. 12, at the Community Readiness Expo at the Nehelani. The Financial Readiness Program booth provides Soldiers new to the island with tips for shopping in Hawaii, contact information for the Schofield Tax Office and a schedule for upcoming Financial Readiness Program courses. It also provides information about the Department of Defense Savings Deposit Program for Soldiers who are deploying. (Lacey Justinger, U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii Public Affairs)

Ayanna Whitsides (second from right), a Financial Readiness Program volunteer, and Roshetta Carson, an Army Emergency Relief Program specialist (right), provide Spc. Jose Cruz Gomez and his wife, Luz Garcia, with financial resource materials, while their son, Josiel Cruz, looks on, Feb. 12, at the Community Readiness Expo at the Nehelani. The Financial Readiness Program booth provides Soldiers new to the island with tips for shopping in Hawaii, contact information for the Schofield Tax Office and a schedule for upcoming Financial Readiness Program courses. It also provides information about the Department of Defense Savings Deposit Program for Soldiers who are deploying. (Lacey Justinger, U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii Public Affairs)

Karen A. Iwamoto
Staff Writer
Military Saves Week, part of the annual nationwide America Saves campaign, is Feb. 23-28, and the Consumer Federation of America and the Department of Defense are urging service members and their families to practice financial responsibility by spending less and saving more.

To support this message, the Army Community Service’s Financial Resilience Center is hosting a week of events around U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii to educate Soldiers and their families about their personal finances.

“The most important thing is making sure that they have money set aside in an emergency fund,” said Fran Avery, a financial counselor at the Financial Resilience Center. “This is money they set aside in case of an emergency. They can start small, with just $1,000 or even $500.”

New habits
For those who aren’t used to it, saving money can be difficult, but Avery said there are small habits a person can change to yield higher savings.
Do you eat out every day, instead of making your own meals? Do you wait for a sale before stocking up on items you need? Do you need the items you’re buying, or are you only buying it because it’s on sale?

“If you see something is on sale, but you don’t really need it, then you don’t need to buy it,” she said. “If you buy it on sale with your credit card, you have to pay it off with interest at the end of the month, and that defeats the purpose.”

The same goes with paying for gas on a military installation, she said. The initial cost is cheaper than it would be if you were buying it off base, but if you’re paying with a credit card, you should always keep your overall monthly payment in mind.

This is where having a budget and a long-term financial plan comes in handy.

Saavy consumers take the time to read and understand their credit card and financial statements and can readily catch errors that might come up, she said.

For more consumer-finance advice, Soldiers and their families can sign up, either online or at one of the Financial Readiness Center’s Military Saves Week events, to take the Savers Pledge:

I will help myself by saving money, reducing debt, and building wealth over time. I will help my family and my country by encouraging other Americans to Build Wealth, Not Debt.

After signing the pledge, Soldiers and families can opt to receive emails with financial tips and promotions.

More Online
Call the Schofield branch of the Army Community Service at 655-4227.
Visit Military Saves at www.militarysaves.org.
Visit the Consumer Federation of America at www.consumerfed.org.

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