Archive for Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Loose change adds up to big savings

March 5, 2008

Did you know that the average household accumulates about $50 in loose change each month?

If this money were invested over 20 years, it would total more than $20,000, if calculated at 5 percent yield. Loose change is a great way for even those who say 'they can't save money' to get started on a regular savings effort.

K-State Research & Extension is partnering with local financial institutions to help you Count Your Change.

"Age is irrelevant it's never too late to start saving, managing debt and building a secure financial future," said Carol Young, Kansas State University Research and Extension family financial management specialist, who coordinates the Kansas campaign of America Saves, sponsored by the Consumer Federation of America.

Why save? Why now? One reason is to model positive behaviors to others, particularly youths. Youths today are spending money - a lot of it - $172 billion in spending, according to George Barany, director of financial education with the Consumer Federation of America.

A June 2003 online Harris Interactive Youth Pulse survey of 3,432 young people ages 8 to 21 years reports the following information on spending habits:

¢ Pre-teens, ages 8-12, spend $19.1 billion dollars per year ($946 per child)

¢ Teens, ages 13-19, spend $94.7 billion dollars per year ($3,309 per child)

¢ Young adults, ages 20-21, reported spending $61.3 billion dollars per year ($7,389 per person)

Students are leaving college with more debt than ever, student loan amounts are increasing, tuition keeps rising and credit cards are being pushed on students at many campuses. The median education loan debt is nearly $20,000 for full-time students at four- year colleges. And that's not including credit cards; more than half of students surveyed this winter by Sallie Mae had piled on more than $5,000 in debt in school. And one-third added more than $10,000 in credit-card debt.

Managing debt and building a secure financial future is do-able, and the sooner you start saving, the better.

To help you in your savings efforts, take part in the Count Your Change campaign sponsored by K-State Research & Extension.

- Denise Sullivan is K-State Research and Extension - Leavenworth County director and the family and consumer sciences county agent. Contact her at the extension office, (913) 250-2300.


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