Advice will set you off on the right track

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Saving money is always challenging. But there are plenty of ways to get started and make it a habit.

The Salisbury Post asked readers for tips on how they save money and we received some well-thought out responses.

Gordon and Cynthia Correll of Salisbury have good, solid advice that speaks for itself. Gordon Correll was a teacher of history and economics before becoming a school administrator. He says when he taught economics in high school, it was all consumer-oriented, so the young people would learn something they could use.

Here is advice he still shares:

Our family saved money by making it a priority. You should look to save money in several ways, and it begins with a quality education. One’s education is extremely important. It begins with choosing a career that has promise now and in the future, something that one is interested in doing that can make them some money. If you don’t make money, you sure can’t save money.

With college costs extremely high, unless one’s family has the money to spend, go to a good community college your first two years, and then transfer to the best state university in your state that is recognized for the major you intend to pursue.

Once your job is secured and a paycheck is earned, figure what your monthly bills are going to be and immediately deposit that amount in an account that will draft your bills. Next, open a saving account and deposit into the account an amount that you can live without. Do not touch it unless you have a real emergency, or you have enough in the account to use as a down payment on your home. Make sure you adjust this amount each time your pay increases.

Plan for your retirement when you are young. When would you like to retire? How much money will you need? Talk to retired people and ask them what mistakes they made and what helped them to retire.

Always pay your bills on time. A good credit rating is worth gold, and it will save you money in the future.

Live below your means by purchasing less can then you think you need, less car, house, etc.

Save money by purchasing vehicles that are a few years old. A new car is not a good investment for most people.

Learn to cook, and eat at restaurants only occasionally; look for good prices when you purchase clothes, but always keep quality in mind.

Once you have some funds, shop around and select a bank that will not charge you so many fees. Bank fees are expensive.

Pick a good spouse, get to know this person really well before you marry them, and make sure, as much as you can, that this is the person in which you want to spend the rest of your life. Divorce is expensive, and emotionally draining for you and others involved.

Plan your family as best as you can. Children are blessings, but they are expensive blessings that require love, attention, care and financial support. Once you begin your family, purchase a good term life insurance policy that is large enough to protect your family in the case of your death. Remember, I said term life policy.

When it is time to purchase a home, look for one that is constructed well, one that you can afford, and one in which you can put down an adequate down payment. A home is a major expense, so do not try to save money by not hiring a good real estate agent, home inspector and attorney. Do not make the mistake that many of my generation made by turning 40 and purchasing their “dream” house.” Why do this? The kids are gone or will be, and you do not need a larger house so you can pay higher utility costs, higher taxes and more expensive maintenance.

Do not look at a house as an investment: it is shelter that one day you will own. A second house is an investment.

Stay out of debt as much as you can. For most things, if you don’t have the funds to pay for them, do not purchase them until you do have the funds.

Before you invest in stocks, bonds, etc. get some good opinions from several different investment experts. Remember only invest what you can afford to lose. Take some chances when you are young, but as you near retirement, be much more conservative.

Be careful of easy credit and credit cards. Credit cards are the best 30-day loan you can get, but they are the worst 31-day loan you can get. Remember, every time you use it and do not pay off the full balance when due, you get yourself into debt.

When it is time for you to retire you will be amazed just how much money you have by having a quality education in a field in demand, staying out of debt, living below your means, and making smart decisions. Believe it or not, you can still enjoy life and have a good time by being a good steward of your finances.