Saving gives you options, less money stress and more financial freedom, says consumer finance expert Kevin Gallegos, vice president of Phoenix operations for Freedom Financial Network. “Money may not buy happiness,” he adds, but it is a vehicle to help us achieve many goals, whether those goals include buying a new piece of furniture, spending time to train for a marathon, providing for a child’s education or saving for retirement.
It can be hard to get to any destination without a map, Gallegos notes. He recommends creating a budget that includes your plans for saving. “The key is not to start with dollars and cents, but with your goals,” he says. Make a list of your goals and use it to guide your budget and plan your savings.
Once you’ve created your roadmap, take full advantage of the NEA member resources that can help you reach your goals. A few simple changes could lead to more money in your pocket!
1. Shop at NEA Discount Marketplace
At the NEA Discount Marketplace, powered by Rakuten, you can find discounts from well-known retailers such as Kohl’s, Sears, Macy’s and many more. And when you shop, you earn cash back, which you can receive via check or your PayPal account.
2. Make your money work harder with an online savings account
It pays to pay yourself first: Set up or add to your emergency fund, start setting aside money for your next vacation or a start a down payment fund for a car. By saving small amounts consistently each month, you’ll meet your goals before you know it.
“Use technology to simplify savings,” suggests Gallegos. Decide how much of each paycheck—or any income source—you want to save. “Establish a monthly savings goal and turn that [goal] into a ‘bill’ to pay,” just as you pay other bills.
3. Get the most out of rewards with the NEA Cash Rewards Card
To maximize your cash back, you’ll want to have the NEA Cash Rewards Card in your wallet. You can earn 3% CASH BACK in the CATEGORY OF YOUR CHOICE: gas, online shopping, dining, travel, drug stores, or home improvement/furnishings. You’ll automatically earn 2% cash back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs, and 1% cash back on all other purchases. Earn 3% and 2% cash back on the first $2,500 in combined choice category/grocery store/wholesale club purchases each quarter, then earn 1%.
And there’s a special incentive for new applicants for the card: You can qualify for a special bonus offer by using your new Cash Rewards credit card to make at least $500 in purchases within the first 90 days of your account’s open date.
Read about making the most of all sorts of rewards in our article “Get Rewarded for Holiday Shopping,” and maximize this years’ holiday shopping season.
4. Sign up for NEA Member Benefits newsletters
You’ll get special NEA member travel deals and discounts, along with inspirational destination ideas, when you sign up for NEA Travel. Save on hotel bookings, rental cars and more! And if you're looking for an easy way to save on your everyday shopping, get valuable deals, tips and advice when you sign up for the NEA Member Shopper’s Guide.