United Way for Greater Austin has been promoting savings for years through our Financial Opportunity program and this week, we are joining the nation to raise awareness for America Saves Week.
“Nearly half of all U.S. Households have almost no savings to cover an emergency or save for the future” according to the Corporation for Enterprise Development. In Austin, this translates into more families struggling to weather emergencies like a car breaking down or a child getting sick. Often families turn to payday and auto title lenders for relief, only to be trapped by debt from unreasonably high fees.
When the debt becomes too much to handle, the cycle of poverty accelerates. On average eighteen cars are repossessed a week in Austin, which means hard-working employees lose reliable transportation, threatening their jobs and source of income.
The simplest way to safeguard against high-cost loans is to save automatically. Setting aside a small amount each week through direct deposit makes saving easy and convenient – start small, and it can add up pretty quickly.
February is also the perfect time to start saving by depositing a portion of tax refunds. Through UWATX’s partner, Foundation Communities, Austin brought back more than eleven-million dollars through the Earned Income Tax Credit last year and generated more than $90,000 in savings.
Have a friend or family member struggling to save? Find more saving tips at AmericaSaves.org and call 2-1-1 to find a free tax preparer that can help turn refunds into savings.
Here are 5 easy ways to get involved in America Saves Week:
- Take the America Saves Pledge
- Those with a savings plan are twice as likely to save for emergencies and retirement than those without a plan. Join over 310,000 people who have already committed to save. Pledge or re-pledge today!
- Share Your Savings Goal
- People save more successfully when they have a goal in mind. That’s why we’ve created posters so you can put your savings goal into perspective and share it.
- Assess Your Savings
- Find out if you are saving in all the right places with this 12 step savings assessment.
- Test Your Savings Knowledge
- Take this savings quiz to reveal how much you understand about the realities of savings in America.
- Share Savings Tips and Advice with Family and Friends
- On Twitter and Facebook? Share these posts or this blog with your friends and followers to encourage them to save.