María Cortés González, El Paso Times
Published 8:00 a.m. MT Feb. 4, 2019
The El Paso Times wants to help you meet your goals in 2019, so we’re running a regular feature for Motivational Monday. This week’s goal: saving money.
Whether you have bad credit or are just living paycheck to paycheck, saving money can be one of the hardest resolutions to work on.
Ruby Alvarez, community development manager, for GECU, said two of the biggest financial challenges people have are not having emergency savings and not understanding their spending habits.
Alvarez suggests El Pasoans track their expenses, because many do not realize how much they spend on eating out.
“One obstacle that we see during our counseling sessions is people tend to live paycheck to paycheck and spending on unnecessary wants keeping them from being better off financially,” she said. “One example where people spend too much is through eating out.”
“Controlling their spending habits such as eating out may help them save thousands of dollars a year,” Alvarez said.
Laura Iracheta Jara, an Anthony, N.M. mom, said she started looking for ways to save money because she has four children.
After seeing other moms pay $2 for disposable diapers using coupons at Walgreens six years ago, Jara said she started to looking into coupon clipping.
“I started looking into, looking on the Internet for coupons and after a while you kind of get a rush from it. Your heart starts racing when you’re in the parking lot, thinking all the cars know about the deals. And then you go through the aisles, thinking everybody beat you to it, and then nobody is there and it’s just really fun,” she said.
Jara said she’s been couponing so long, she refused to buy shampoo if it’s going to cost her more than $1, even with a coupon.
“And the coupons are for the good brands, not generic,” she said.
Here are Jara’s tried and true tips for saving money:
Use savings apps: Jara says she uses the Wal-Mart app, Savings Catcher, where she can scan her receipts. The app will save the price difference from neighboring stores to her Wal-Mart account for future use.
Shop clearance aisles: Jara said she can usually save on children’s clothing by purchasing them on sale at the Family Dollar. The brand may be inexpensive but last long enough between growth spurts.
“I have found sets for $2,” she said.
Get extra coupons: Dollar Tree sells newspapers for $1. So even with a limit of three papers, Jara said it’s worth it to get the newspapers and clip those coupons.
Join Facebook groups: Jara says there a lot of groups where people post specials, deals they find in stores. Among her favorites is Facebook/CUPONIANDO EN LAS CRUCES Y EL PASO
Fill those surveys: You know those receipts from fast-food places that offer you a free burger or other item if you fill a survey, Jara does. She also looks up coupons on the Internet before going out to eat.
María Cortés González may be reached at 546-6150; [email protected]; @EPTMaria on Twitter.
Here are additional finance tips from Ruby Alvarez, community development manager for GECU.
Look for free resources that help educate on overcoming debt and how to budget. GECU has financial education through ImagineU, an interactive platform online. GECU Community Development also offers free financial coaches to help with money management and building an individual plan and budget.
Reach out to your bank representatives. Financial professionals can take a look and offer programs that may be able to help them.
Create healthy habits: Pay yourself first and set a financial goal. Setting aside $10 a week would amount to $520 a year.
Seek assistance for filing taxes. GECU offers the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program to assist the community in free tax preparation either face-to-face or online.
Work on credit repair. Responsible credit usage and timely payment history will help them increase their credit score and further savings along the way. Ways to do this is to qualify and manage fully-secured loans, fully-secured credit cards, credit builder loans, small unsecure loan, using a co-signer or being added as an authorized user on another credit card.
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