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Extension offers 'gear up to save' program

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By Theresa Howard

In a down economy Americans are saving more, but their level of savings may not be enough to help them navigate through an unforeseen financial hardship.
America Saves Week and Kentucky Saves Week, the state level campaign, were created to encourage people to find ways to save more, whether that’s building a savings account or emergency fund or paying off credit card debt. This year, the week is Feb. 20-27.
4-H Youth designed piggy banks in honor of the week. You can see our local banks on display during the Extension Expo on March 19. The winning designs from each of the state’s seven Extension districts will be on display at the Capitol in Frankfort during February.
This week is a great time for you to start saving for the future. Here are some tips from http://americasaves.org that can help get you started:
Ask your bank or credit union to automatically transfer funds each month from your checking to your savings account. Even as little as $10 or $15 a month helps. After all, that’s $120 or $180 a year.
Put all of your loose change in a savings account. For many people, that could add up to well over $100 a year.
If your employer matches retirement savings contributions, be sure to take advantage of that. Some employers match up to 100 percent of your contributions.
Keep a careful record of all of your expenditures for a month. You may be surprised to learn how much you are spending on such things as a daily latte or restaurant meals.
For necessary purchases such as food, transportation and insurance, comparison shop to save the most.
To enroll as a Kentucky Saver, contact the Extension Office at 358-3401 for an enrollment form or go to http://ces.ca.uky.edu/larue. “Like us,” LaRue County Cooperative Extension Service, on Facebook to see daily tips during February.