Like the majority of people, you have probably often thought about how important it is to save some money. You have likely figured out by now how setting aside money (such as for children’s education, down payment on a home, or even for retirement) is a good idea. However, what you might not be aware of is how exactly to make that first step, so here are a few tips to help you get started.

Start Where You Are
To build good savings habits is really only a simple matter of actually doing something instead of doing nothing. So, start where you are. For example, at the end of each day, empty you wallet and pockets of any change you accumulated during the day, and put it in a jar. Deposit this money monthly into a savings account. Another option is to skip on one coffee a day, and put a dollar aside instead. At the end of the month, this will amount to roughly $30 to deposit into that savings account. After an entire year of doing this, you will have saved an approximated $360!

Keep Track of Habits
Many people typically spend approximately $5 eating out several times a week at the office cafeteria. If you were to reduce this to only once or twice a week, you could take the extra five dollars from the days you don’t spend it, and deposit it into your savings account. The same scenario can be used once you finish paying off your car or student loans. Once the actual loan has been paid in full, continue depositing the same amount in your savings account every month.

Set Goals for Success
In order to develop a discipline for saving, most successful savers have the need to experience a number of small successes in the beginning so one positive experience reinforces the other. Start out by picking short-term, easily attainable goals which will give you a sense of personal satisfaction from the start. For example, your goal might be a new stereo or paying off a credit card balance. Determine what those goals will cost, and give yourself a deadline for achieving them. Then all you have to do is just do it – begin by setting aside the right amount of money as per your schedule, and stick to it. Before you know it, your goal will have been reached.

Needs or Wants?
At some point or another we all have the urge to splurge or pamper ourselves. Of course it’s nice to treat ourselves to something new every now and again. Before making any purchase, however, remember to take the time to consider these questions: “Do I need this?” and “Does this help me achieve my savings goal?” As a rule this will help you make the appropriate decision and stay focused on your goals before making a purchase.

Monitoring Your Expenses
You may want to sit down at the end of each month and review all of your expenses. There may have been areas you didn’t consider before, but by seeing them on paper you realize they are part of what needs to change for the next month.

Stick With It
The most important point in any savings plan is to stick with it. Some people find it helpful to keep their goals in writing. Writing down the amount you need as well as the date you expect to achieve your goal gives you something concrete to focus on. With long-term goals, such as saving for retirement, you may find it helpful to establish milestones you can celebrate along the way.

Think Big
Big-time savers use an “I can” attitude while thinking long term. By exercising discipline now you can see rewarding paybacks later on. Saving can make the world of difference not only for yourself, but for your children as well. Starting to save today means less to worry about tomorrow.

Pregnancy is exciting. It’s a time filled with baby showers, ultrasounds and nursery redecorating. It’s a time of joyful anticipation. And it’s a time to think about your household budget.

But moms- and dads-to-be often forget about that last item. With everything that’s currently going on and upcoming, money matters can easily be the last thing on their minds. However, a new addition to the family will have a significant impact on the budget, and it’s very important to consider this ahead of time. Here are eight things you can do to prepare for the baby and keep your finances in order.

1. Start saving extra money as soon as you learn about the pregnancy. Those first few months won’t be as expensive as mid to late pregnancy, so you should be able to put a fair amount of money away. This fund will be helpful when it comes time to buy things like maternity clothes, baby furniture or a stroller.

2. Seek out deals on basic needs such as diapers, wipes and baby wash. Clip coupons from your Sunday paper or find them online, and then check your favorite stores periodically for sales. You’ll be glad that you stocked up on these things later on.

3. If you know the baby’s gender, put the word out to friends and relatives. They may have some baby clothes that you can use. Even if the gender is uncertain or you want it to be a surprise, you can probably get some donations of neutral clothing to help you get through those first few weeks.

4. Start checking out prices on things your baby will need on a regular basis. It may be difficult to determine how much formula she will drink or how many diapers she will go through in a month’s time, but at least you’ll have a general idea of what to expect. You may want to give it your best guess and work on a tentative budget to give yourself a head start.

5. Understand that a new addition to the family will raise many of your expenses. You’ll buy more groceries. You’ll use more electricity warming up bottles and turning lights on in the middle of the night. You’ll use more water giving baths and washing tiny clothes and bedding. Take this into account when planning your post-birth budget.

6. Resist the urge to take the easy way out when it comes to meals. When you’re tending to a newborn, it’s easy to fall into the habit of eating takeout and convenience foods. But cooking is less expensive and far healthier for you and your family. Ask other family members to help with food preparation so that it won’t be such a chore.

7. Set some money aside for medical expenses. Babies need several check-ups during their first year of life, and they’ll also need medical attention in the event of illness. Health insurance helps a great deal, but you’ll probably still have some out-of-pocket expenses such as copays and over-the-counter medications.

8. Weigh your childcare options. If a parent plans to stay home with the baby, it will significantly affect the budget. If you take him to daycare or a sitter, it will also have an impact. It’s important to carefully think things through before you make a decision and adjust your budget accordingly.

When there’s a little one on the way, it’s important to think about the financial implications. Planning ahead will make things easier when your bundle of joy arrives, allowing you to enjoy those first months and years without worrying about money.

Since he was first elected to Congress, Steve Buyer has been a leader in the fight to reduce unnecessary government spending and to bring responsible fiscal practices to Congress.  He has supported a balanced budget amendment, efforts to rein in federal spending, and efforts to lower the federal spending deficit.

Steve Buyer has been an advocate for the men and women wearing our nation’s uniform to ensure they have the training and equipment necessary to fight and win the war on terror.  As the former Chairman and current Ranking Members of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, Steve has worked to make sure our nation’s veterans have the best health care and opportunities to succeed in the private sector.

As a Member of the powerful Energy and Commerce Committee, Steve helped to craft historic telecommunications legislation that allows our nation to remain competitive in today’s high-tech world and to respond to new challenges.  Known as an expert on health care policy, Steve has played a significant role in developing key health care legislation.  He has transformed the military health care system and fulfilled America’s promise of health care for life to its military retirees through the TriCare program.  He has helped reduce costs to American consumers for their prescription drugs, improved the patient-doctor relationship, shortened the FDA’s approval time for lifesaving prescription drugs and medical devices, and improved our nation’s commitment to preventative health care. 

Steve remains at the forefront of issues affecting Indiana and continues working to make a difference for Hoosiers and their fellow Americans. 

What people are saying about Steve Buyer:

“I am grateful for Steve Buyer’s hard work to pass this landmark legislation that will actually help seniors gain access to affordable drugs.”

-Tommy Thompson, Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, at a news conference to announce the roll out of the Medicare Drug Discount Card (3/25/04)

“If it were not for Steve Buyer, the promise of health care for life for military retirees would not be a reality.”

                        -President of the National Association of Uniform Officer