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Fewer people saving money

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February 10, 2006

Albany--Americans are spending more and saving less. In fact, last year for the first time since the Great Depression, the nation's savings rate dropped below zero. More of us are also going into debt.

Saving money isn't easy. "For me, it's really hard," says Shameka Reed.

"It is very hard to save money," says Roxie Perkins.   And financial experts say fewer people are doing it. "Individuals are not saving enough to meet their goals a little later in life," says financial expert, Pat O'Lear.

While many people get a rush out of shopping and bargain hunting, not saving money can ultimately cost you. "Saving is the vehicle by which meet those financial goals that we need to send our kids to college, or perhaps retire, or a second home," says O'Lear.

Experts say women have a harder time saving than men do. Shameka Reed says, for her, it's almost impossible. "There's so much stuff that we need. It's hard to save money when you need stuff," says Reed.

But she always manages to put some money aside for future expenses. "Get direct deposit. That way you won't have any money on you so it's hard to buy stuff when you don't have any money," says Reed.

Financial advisor, Pat O'Lear agrees. "Have it come out of your pay check before your ever have a chance to see it, whether that's a deposit into your employer's deposit plan or whether your check hits the bank you automatically debit your savings account," says O'Lear.

With tax season here, Roxie Perkins knows what she's doing with her tax refund. "Try to save the majority of it and try to pay off some debts," says Perkins.

While her tax refund will make it easier to save, she also budgets her money. "Buy stuff that's necessary, pretend like it's not there, and just use my paycheck, and basically that's it," says Perkins.

O'Lear says the cost of living today makes it difficult for people to save. "It does seem to me that the price of things have grown faster than the average income," says O'Lear.

However, saving now can mean financial freedom as you get older. "The younger you start the less you have to save," says O'Lear.

And that's advice some spenders are trying to follow. "When you look at the economy is kind of wise to save money," says Perkins.

"Just stay home," says Reed.  Experts say you should always try to have at least two months of pay saved up for unexpected emergencies.

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