Atlanta Bankruptcy Attorneys Are Saving Less But Spending More
Even though a weak job market is threatening to stall economic recovery, Americans increased their spending in January, Atlanta bankruptcy attorneys say.
With unemployment still hovering just under 10 percent, incomes remained almost flat in January - rising by around 0.1 percent, significantly lower than what economists expected. And for those lucky enough to retain our jobs, cost-of-living raises are still far and few between - not to mention the fact that some of us have seen reduced hours, furlough days or other paycheck-lowering actions. Yet we spent, on average, 0.5 percent more last month, according to The Commerce Department.
The good news is that we're feeling optimistic. The bad news is that we're threatening to derail our progress. See, the Great Recession has been good for at least one thing. It's increased our savings rate from a negative number for most of the last decade to more than 4.3 percent last year. Now we're starting to see that rate drop again - last month, for instance, we only saved 3.3 percent.
If we want our newfound responsible behavior to stick around, we're going to have to start slowing our spending to match our income. Fortunately, there's a formula to make saving a little more manageable.
To start, almost everyone can identify some unnecessary expenses - often, they're things we don't even realize we're still paying for. Maybe it's a Netflix account for movies you never watch. Or a gym membership you don't use or subscription to magazines you don't read. Automatic renewal can be a huge - and sneaky - waste of money. If I didn't check my bank statement every month, I wouldn't have noticed that I was still being charged for a domain name I don't use. The same goes for the DSL that I canceled last year.
Once you've identified some unnecessary expenses to eliminate, try looking for ways to reduce the cost of stuff you do need. For instance, can you buy more generics at the grocery store? Drive at the speed limit so you don't burn as much gas - or put so much wear-and-tear on your car? How about switching to generic brand meds at the pharmacy? Or brewing your coffee for 10 cents a cup instead of hitting up Starbucks for $3 a cup?
Sometimes it's easier to find ways to cut back than it is to actually commit to cutting back. In that case, automatic payments can come in handy. Try to designate an amount you can afford to save each month. Then schedule an automatic payment to your savings account for right after payday. Before you can think about all the ways to spend that money, it will be tucked away nicely in your stash - where it will probably stay. Now, it's possible that you could be doing everything right - making a budget, plugging spending holes and even trying automatic payments - yet still come up short due to debt. Bankruptcy can help you fight back against debt by offering a realistic payment plan and protection from creditors. Learn more about bankruptcy when you sign up for a free personal debt analysis courtesy of an Atlanta bankruptcy attorney. Let us help you get your savings back on track.