...what do we do to save?
Well, at the moment, our savings are pretty pitiful.
I have a savings account at ING direct that I've had for several years. When we got our tax refund this year, after we paid a few bills, paid for a few summer camps, and paid CASH for our spring break trip, I put the rest in the ING account. It earned good interest for several months, but then I had to pull almost all of it out for our city taxes ($2500) and a home repair ($420) and some living expenses.
In the past I've had automatic deposits from our checking account scheduled, but when money was tight I cancelled them. If we can ever get this withholding issue settled, I'd like to start them again.
Both of my kids also have accounts with ING each with a hundred or so dollars.
We also have a crappy money market account with our main bank. It pays next to nothing and it also costs $6 a month. The ONLY reason I keep it is because I like to transfer money out of my checking into there, so I kind of forget about it and am not tempted to spend it. If I need it transferred back, the transfer is instantaneous....if I transfer it to ING, it takes two days to make it back into my checking account. I wish there were a better alternative...hell, a mason jar under the bed would be better. I'm certainly not earning anywhere near $6 a month.
Huh. Maybe I WILL put aside cash in a mason jar and close that account. That would be like finding an extra $6 a month...
We also have three retirement accounts, two at T. Rowe Price and one with the American Bar Association. One of them is mine, leftover from a previous job. I haven't checked the balance lately - I think I'll go do that right now.
My retirement account has $9600 in it; DH's T. Rowe Price has $16,400. His is invested solely in a science and technology fund, so the balance goes up and down. At one time, around 1999, it had a balance of over 40K. Of course, most of that disappeared within a year or two of that. His ABA account has $41,599 in it. We have never made deposits into those T. Rowe Price accounts on our own; the money in it is solely from employer contributions and what they've earned. DH was required to make a yearly deposit into his ABA account when he worked at the other firm, but has not since he left. In other words, we are not actively saving for retirement at all. And DH is 51, so we really need to get a move on.
I'm glad I checked them - they're doing better than I thought.
Here's a question I hope someone can answer ...in the past when I've had opportunities to put money into our retirement funds, I've always hesitated, because I think I would feel absolutely sick if I looked at the statement and saw that it had LOST money. Is there some way to minimize this risk - transferring my money to a super-conservative fund? A CD maybe? I am such a dummy when it comes to investing, I have no idea what to do, but while I'm paralyzed with indecision, time is wasting!
So in contrast to all that debt...
...what do we do to save?