Giving the Gift of Savings – to Ourselves and Others

America Saves Week begins Sunday, February 22, and the event comes this year as consumers all across the country rededicate themselves to the principle of saving to buy later instead of charging to buy now. With this in mind, here are two credit union savings programs that crossed my desk this week that I thought I would share with you.

The Rainy Day Savings Account – Truliant FCU

Truliant’s Rainy Day Savings Account is based on the idea that pennies add up over time. On a daily basis, the credit union sweeps the change in member checking accounts to this special savings account. For new savers,¬† this product will teach both the power of compounding and persistence when it comes to saving money – and hopefully open the door to a new awareness of how people can take charge of their lives by paying themselves first.

The Match Savings Program – The World Council of Credit Unions

WOCCU’s recently-announced Match Savings Program allows credit union people worldwide to promote savings among impoverished¬† people living in rural Mexico. People who need to pay for basic things such as shoes and school gear for kids — or even a trip to the dentist — open savings accounts. As these new savers contribute to their credit union¬† accounts, they are matched by your contributions to the program.

All contributions are tax deductible, but the real value lies in helping people empower themselves. Times are tough and extra money is hard to find these days, but I hope you’ll give thought to supporting this wonderful program.

There’s also a Social Networking component to the Match Savings Program, so even if you can’t contribute directly to the program – you can still contribute.

The economic crisis has reminded everyone of the basic value of pay-as-you-go. Kudos to both Truliant and WOCCU for their work, and to all credit unions that are continuing to promote thrift to their membership.

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With Consumers Pulling Back, Is Saving Going to be Sexy Again?

Consumer spending appears to be slowing down as prices for many necessities head up, and unemployment continues to rise (in fact, the jobless rate is up more than two percent in NC over the past year, and stands at 6.9% as of August). We all know that consumers tend to pull back in times like these and with many financial institutions cutting lines of credit, some consumers may have no other choice.

My question for you: after having the punchbowl taken away from them, are consumers about to change their relationship to credit and the way they live, or are we all just waiting to be invited to the next party? Is saving money going to be sexy again?