Top Savings Tips for Every Life Stage

saving-moneyThe last week in February marks the annual America Saves Week, a cooperative effort among financial institutions, non-profits, bloggers and other groups to inform Americans about their personal finances and help consumers save more. As a participating organization, NerdWallet worked to get the word out about the benefits of saving, and how to accomplish your financial goals. Below are our top savings tips for every life stage. Read on to learn more:

CHILDREN | Learning to save can start at a young age.

Most of us think of saving money is a necessity reserved for adults, but younger generations can take part as well. In fact, teaching kids about saving money at an early age will also help them to succeed later in life. Framing lessons in kid-friendly ways through games or characters is often a good way to get a conversation started. Consider Smoky Bear teaching children about how to avoid forest fires. Kids: Participate in our “Dollars for A’s” Program. For every “A” you earn on your report card, First Financial will deposit $1 into your First Step Kids Account!* It’s a great way to reward your child for doing his or her best in school. It also teaches the life long practice of saving for the future- visit a branch location to redeem those dollars today!

Let them practice.

The best way to hone a skill is through plenty of practice. Savings skills are no different. Give your child a reasonable allowance and help to set monthly and yearly savings goals. You may even want to open a savings account together. Many banks and credit unions offer accounts just for kids (for example, First Financial’s First Step Kids Savings Account). These accounts allow your child’s money to earn interest in a safe location while also teaching them valuable lessons about the benefits of saving.

STUDENTS | Hone your financial skills whenever possible.

Developing financial security is a learning process for us all, and part of learning is studying. Luckily, “studying” in this case doesn’t have to be boring. Simple conversations about finances with friends and family can help expand your understanding of essential topics.

College students: know where to go for your best banking option.

We know – students have enough on their plate without spending the time to research different bank accounts. However, going with the bank or credit union that offers the lowest fees and the best student perks can give a serious boost to your balance. Be warned, the big bank on campus is not always your best bet, so think outside the box, like a local credit union. Read more tips on how to pick a student checking account.

First Financial has some great options for high school and college students, like our Student Checking Account (ages 14-23).

YOUNG ADULTS | Do as they say, not as they do.

Despite the best intentions, many Americans are still struggling to save in the face of large debts and economic uncertainty. Remember that just because others aren’t always saving in these tough times doesn’t mean you should follow suit. Be a good example for your family and community by committing to save more. 

Planning to move? Consider the cost of living.

Prices for food, housing, transportation and entertainment can vary widely from city to city. This means that a comfortable living wage in one location may be scarcely enough to get by in another. If you’re planning to move for a job in the near future, consider how the move will affect your current financial standing. Will your new wage be enough to live on and continue to save for the future? Compare the cost of living between cities for more detail.

FAMILIES | Be prepared for emergencies.

You never know when a medical emergency or sudden job loss might occur, so it’s always best to be prepared with some extra cash. Take the time to plan and save ahead, with at least a few months of basic living expenses socked away.

Teamwork is essential for families and couples.

Financial woes, and how couples choose to handle them, can truly make or break a relationship. Experts agree that when it comes to managing money while in a committed relationship, communication and teamwork are some of the most important qualities.

EVERYONE | Stop throwing away your hard-earned money on checking fees.

You may be surprised to find out just how much your bank is charging you for a basic checking account. The biggest US banks can charge an average of nearly $120 per year for their basic accounts, unless you meet minimum balance or other usage requirements. Luckily, with thousands of FREE checking accounts out there at community banks, credit unions and online banks, there’s no reason why you should ever pay a monthly fee.

Apply for First Financial’s Free Checking Account with no hidden fees. Our members won’t find any hidden charges here, and the account doesn’t require any minimum balances.**

Know your options.

The choice of where to save your money is not always an easy one. Two common options, a savings account and a certificate of deposit, are often hot contenders for being your best (low-risk) bet. As with many questions, there’s no one right answer, but considering the trade-offs between CDs and high yield savings accounts can help you make the best choice for your own savings goals.

Don’t settle for anything but the best savings rates.

Having a lot of money saved up is certainly a major achievement, but what’s even better is letting that cash work for itself. If you settle for a low yield on your balances, you’re passing up some significant earnings each month that you save.

You can find rates on First Financial’s Savings Certificates, Money Market Accounts and Savings Accounts by visiting our website at and clicking on the “Rates” drop down menu at the top right of our homepage.

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*Offer applies only to report cards for most recent school terms. Letter grade “A” or 90%+. No back rewards available for prior semesters or marking periods. Available for First Financial members between 1st and 12th grades. Qualifying report cards must be submitted within 45 days from the date of issue. Child must be present and a $5.00 deposit to a First Step Kids Account is required to receive the Dollars for A’s incentive.  Parent or guardian must bring both the child’s birth certificate and social security card when opening a First Step Kids Account at any branch location.  Parent or guardian will be a joint owner and must also bring their identification. A First Financial Membership is open to anyone who lives, works, worships or attends school in Monmouth or Ocean Counties. As of 12/12/2012, the First Step Kids Account has an annual percentage yield of 0.05% on balances of $100.00 and more. The dividend rate may change after the account is opened.

**A $5 deposit in a base savings account is required for credit union membership prior to opening any other account. All personal memberships are part of the Rewards First program and a $5 per month non-participation fee is charged to the base savings account for memberships not meeting the minimum requirements of the program. Click here to view full Rewards First program details. Accounts for children age 13 and under are excluded from this program.


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