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SAVINGS…is not a 4-letter word. Nor is SPENDING. However, we need to find a balance that allows us to meet our needs, provide for our wants, AND put money aside for an emergency, a rainy day, a vacation, a deductible, a car repair, gifts, retirement…the list is potentially endless. How do your spending habits shape up? Even more importantly, how are you doing with your savings?

Everyone needs savings…unlike Oreos (sad but true), everyone has some sort of need to have some money set aside. Many of us make grand resolutions to be better at saving in the New Year, but now that we’re eight weeks in, are you still on track? If you’re not—or even if you are—February 23-28 is the week for you!

America Saves Week (http://www.americasaves.org/for-savers/pledge), February 23-28, is a time specifically dedicated to helping Americans make better spending and SAVINGS decisions–take the pledge! If you don’t know how to start, or if starting seems to be an insurmountable challenge, this week is for you. If you’re on track with your savings, but you want to improve what you’re doing, this week is for you! If you want to inspire others (your children, siblings, parents, friends, etc.) to save more, this week is for you. Long story short—if you have even the slightest, most negligible interest in savings, America Saves week and the tools at America Saves will help you get started and stay on track throughout the year.

I can come up with plenty of reasons that “I just can’t save anything this month”…the dog ate my shoes, so I have to go shopping. I don’t want to cook, so let’s take everyone out. My daughter’s birthday is next month, so I have to start buying party supplies, presents, and favors. I could easily continue this list—but it’s really just a set of excuses that prevent me from investing in my own future.

Do I legitimately need new shoes? Yes…but when I say “shoe-shopping” I don’t think inexpensively. I don’t think sale. I think I NEED, I NEED NOW, and who cares about the cost. We all have days where the last thing we want to do is fix dinner. Sometimes just that one task is the very last straw. However, planning for those days will allow us to…yes, save…for when those days crop up every month without wrecking the budget. My daughter is only going to be little for so long, but dropping $300-500 on a few hours of fun and frivolity is really not the best use of my money. I’m not going to avoid the presents, the fun, the theme that she wants, but scaling it down—because, really, is she even going to remember this party ten years from now?—means that I can get a jump start on saving for Easter, my son’s birthday, my anniversary, my husband’s birthday…you get the point.

We all live life. Life isn’t always convenient, and it tends to be expensive. America Saves Week and the tips and tools provided from the team at America Saves help us get a handle on our savings and spending habits so that we can handle the fun, as well as the inconveniences, on an affordable, cash basis.