Year End Contributions
Five tips to help you towards your savings goal for 2022.
Nashville, Ark. – As 2021 comes to an end, you may want to take a few minutes and evaluate the progress you have made towards your savings goal, set some new ones for 2022, and see if there are some additional savings you can make. Here are five end of year savings tips to consider:
- Cancel any non-necessities and save. Do you have a membership to something that you haven’t used? A monthly subscription to a magazine you don’t have time to read? What about cable channels you are not using? Now is the perfect time to evaluate any services or automatic payments you are paying for, but really don’t use. Do you really intend to use them next year? If not, put the money you are spending on them into savings.
- Save the extras. Did you receive a bonus from work or a cash gift during the holidays? What did you do with it? Take a moment and think about your long-term savings goals and how this extra, unexpected cash can help you achieve them. Are you saving towards a new home, a new car or a much needed vacation? If so, consider putting this money towards those goals. What about paying down debt? Consider putting the extra money towards debt payments and applying it to the principle. By paying down high-interest debt you are also saving because you’ll spend less over the long term in interest rates and fees.
- Use don’t lose your vacation. Did you end the year with extra vacation days you can’t carry over? Remember time is money. It may not be possible to use those days before the end of 2021, but you can schedule vacation days for 2022. Go ahead and put possible dates on your calendar for vacation. Even if you are planning on a staycation, it is better to take those days than lose them. Another consideration is some employers may allow you to cash out your overage vacation so that you don’t forfeit it. It may pay to check with your human resource department to see if your company has this policy.
- Make your charitable giving donations before the end of the year. If you’re planning to purge some clothes or other household items and donate them to charity, or make a cash contribution to a charitable organization, be sure to do so before the end of the year so that you can deduct these from your 2021 taxes.
- Pay yourself first. All financial planners will agree that you should be saving some of your paycheck for retirement. A good rule of thumb is to save at least 10% of your paycheck. While that may sound impossible, one of the easiest ways to do this is to automatically deduct that amount from your paycheck and put it into savings. Whether it is increasing your retirement plan or just putting it in a regular savings account, this money can add up.
There are many ways to save money and reduce your debt, even in a financially challenging year. American Saves is a non-profit campaign from the Consumer Federation of America that motivates, encourages, and supports low-to-moderate-income households to save money, reduce debt, and build wealth. The research-based campaign uses the principles of behavior economics and social marketing to change behavior. You can check them out at americasaves.org and take a pledge to save in 2022.
The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture has several publications that are free of charge to help consumers save money. You can check out our fact sheets at https://www.uaex.uada.edu/life-skills-wellness/personal-finance.
My wish for you in 2022 is to have a healthy and happy new year! If you have questions about saving money, retirement, or any financial issue, contact the Howard County Extension Service at 870-845-7517.
Recipe of the Week
Need a new appetizer to nibble on while watching the football games on New Year’s Day? This recipe uses an Arkansas commodity, rice. It was featured recently and received rave reviews. Make it ahead of time and enjoy.
8 oz. cream cheese
½ cup sour cream
1 ½ cups cold cooked rice
1 package ranch-style salad dressing mix
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
2 tablespoons green onion tops
1 teaspoon chopped pimento
2 chopped hot peppers (optional)
½ cup chopped pecans
Chili powder to taste
- Allow cream cheese to soften.
- Mix cream cheese and sour cream together, add rice.
- Stir in ranch-style dressing mix.
- Add remaining ingredients except pecans and chili powder; stir well.
- Shape mixture into ball and roll in chopped pecans.
- Sprinkle with chili powder.
- Refrigerate until ready to serve. Serve with snack crackers.
- Yield: 24 servings
- Spread cream cheese evenly over tortilla.
- Top the cream cheese with salad greens.
- Arrange deli-style meat slices in even layers on top of the lettuce.
- Sprinkle the carrots and tomatoes over.
- Roll tortillas into wraps.
- Cut the wraps diagonally into bite-sized pieces and secure with toothpicks.
By Jean Ince
County Extension Agent - Staff Chair
The Cooperative Extension Service
U of A System Division of Agriculture
Media Contact: Jean Ince
County Extension Agent - Staff Chair
U of A Division of Agriculture
Cooperative Extension Service
421 N. Main St, Nashville AR 71852
The Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service is an equal opportunity/equal access/affirmative
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