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Commentary | Aug. 12, 2009

Saving now pays later

By Airman 1st Class Jason Brown` 1st Fighter Wing Public Affairs

Between filling up the gas tank, keeping clothes on my back and buying the occasional movie or game, I barely have enough money to put away in order to establish a worthy savings account balance.

It's a pretty expensive world we live in.

I had thought that perhaps "being broke" is just a sign of the times; however, after some careful thought and planning, I realized there are ways to still get what I need while adding to my savings.

Store brands save dollars. One way to spend less and save more is using store-brand items instead of more popular name-brand products. For example, grocery stores and pharmacies offer store-brand products, which include over-the-counter medications, household products and food items. These goods are comparable to national brands, but cost less, keeping savings in Airmens' pockets.

Limit dining out and club hopping. I like to go out to eat and enjoy nightlife, as many Airmen do. However, this becomes costly, and at times, tempts us to dip negligibly into our accounts into funds that could be saved or used more responsibly.

Saving now saves you later. It's important to establish a budget and stick to it. Know your income and expenses. Visit the finance office and set up allotments to pay bills, or visit the Airman & Family Readiness Center and take a financial preparedness class.

Once you've established your costs, delegate what funds are left into categories. Put some money away before you start spending freely. Over time, you'll begin to see those small amounts you've set aside accumulate into a considerable savings. These savings will help bail you out in the case of unexpected costs, such as car repairs or a forgotten birthday or anniversary.

For more ways Airmen can financially prepare for the future, contact the Langley Airman and Family Readiness Center at 764-3990.