Tips and Tactics for Smart Savers

By: Robert Shemin
American consumers are experts at spending money, but when it comes to saving, they’re failing miserably.

A recent report released by the Commerce Department revealed that the nation’s personal savings rate for all of 2006 was a negative 1 percent. That’s the worst showing in 73 years, which is significant because that was at a time when the Great Depression was in full swing and people were forced to dip into their savings just to survive.

The negative rate translates into Americans spending all of their after-tax money last year, then dipping into savings, borrowing or financing even more to spend more. The near-record low savings rate is occurring at a time when 78 million baby boomers are about to transition into their retirement years.

Obviously the dynamics between today’s savings numbers being equal to the Great Depression are different because a quarter of the workforce was out of a job. Nevertheless, it’s an alarming statistic that Americans should take very seriously. Not only should they save more, they need to save smarter.

Squeezing value out of every dollar is a priority for anyone who wants to acquire wealth. It covers how the rich think when it comes to purchasing everything, including housing, food, transportation and travel.

It’s about value, not money, as “Rich Idiots" never pay retail prices for anything, and increase their spendable income by reducing the cost of material purchases. For example, there are tactics on saving money when it comes to housing, like negotiating rents and mortgages, acquiring a lease option or moving farther away from the center or town in order to afford a better home. With transportation, there are two big money-savers – buying used and leasing.

People living paycheck to paycheck think it’s impossible to save enough money to make a difference. Their first priority should be to change that way of thinking. If people simply emulate what the ‘Rich Idiots’ do today, they’ve won half the battle on the road to being rich.

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