Does your employer offer retirement savings through a 401(k) or 403(b)? If so, there’s a good chance that your employer offers a match on your contributions. That’s free money! And, it’s silly not to take advantage of it. To find out more about retirement accounts at your work, talk to your supervisor, manager, or someone in human resources.
Participate in the Utah Individual Development Account program. You attend financial education classes and set a savings goal (home, education, business). The Utah IDA Network program matches $3 for every $1 you save! You can save up to $1,500 in your IDA account and receive up to $4,500 in math money, giving you a total of $6,000 to invest in your goal!
For more information about the IDA program, click here.
Low and moderate-income taxpayers qualify for the Earned Income Tax Credit. This refundable credit often pays more than $1,000 (sometimes more than $2,000) to those who claim it. This free money can be a huge help to tight finances or low savings accounts. Be sure to save at least half of the money!
(Photo: Chris Snyder, South Salt Lake Chief of Police and Domoina Voniarisoa, Hser Ner Moo Project Coordinator)
Kari Cutler is one of the many community partners working in South Salt Lake. Here is what she had to say about the United Way of Salt Lake and South Salt Lake neighborhood partnership:
“It is difficult to express the impact the centers have made. Yes, there have been a number of events, projects and shows that the centers have hosted, but it is the stories of the individual youth that make all of the hours and work of the staff and partnering agencies worth the time and effort.
One example is a 9th grade youth that moved to South Salt Lake from L.A. where he was born and raised with a “gangster” mentality. He had been involved in drugs and violence for years. His first couple of days at the center he found himself in the office speaking with the coordinator about his poor attitude and decisions. By the end of the school year, staff had witnessed a 180 degree change as he was the “cool” kid and a mentor for all of the younger youth at the Center. He talked kids out of fighting, on one occasion he sat down with a 6th grader who knew he was in over his head because of his poor behavior and helped this 6th grader come to the coordinator and sincerely apologize. Another time he had five 6th graders hanging on him while he was on the monkey bars all laughing and trying to get him to fall off. The last week of school he again spent hours in coordinators office-only now it was because he wanted to be there, he knew he was safe at the Center and benefited by its programs.
Another youth came consistently after-school each day and was diligent in working on her homework. She had struggled with mathematics all year, but found her math grade improve each term with her diligence and willingness to let the Center benefit her life. It is impossible to describe the satisfaction that came to all of the staff when this 7th grade girl ran to the program to announce that she received an A in math.”
While the city has its challenges, by LIVING UNITED, South Salt Lake is a place where all resident, even those facing the toughest odds, have opportunities for a better life.
One of the things I like best about summer is the wonderful fresh produce available at local farmers’ markets, produce stands, and grocery stores. And one of my favorite ways to cook in the summer is on a barbeque grill. Vegetables (yes, vegetables!) taste delicious cooked on the grill and preparing them this way is really quick and simple – mandatory for hot days! A few of my favorites: slice bell peppers of any color, squash (green or yellow), and onion, pour a little olive over the top, wrap in aluminum foil and place on the grill (low heat). The veggies cook in just a few minutes. If you enjoy meat, try wild-caught salmon (especially good with a little mustard and Paul Prudhomme’s seasoning) or chicken breast (my husband likes to mix a variety of bottled sauces with fresh garlic and a little white wine) on the grill. Veggie burgers work well, too! Before you know it, you’ve made a delicious, nutritious, and low-calorie dinner for yourself and your family.
Cooking at home can be much less costly than eating out, and almost as fast and easy! The best part is that you can make sure what you are eating is low in calories and fat. Many people today are in over their heads in debt and lots of people have problems with their weight. One of the easiest (okay, changing habits isn’t always easy – but it is very possible!) ways to save money and lose weight is to make wise choices with the food you buy and prepare for yourself and your family. Instead of picking up restaurant food to go on your way home from work, stop and buy some fresh foods and cook them! You’ll soon notice that you have more money (restaurant food is more expensive than buying fresh food) and losing weight (there are a lot of hidden calories in restaurant food). Eventually, you’ll find yourself planning ahead what to buy at the grocery for the week.
Changing habits isn’t always easy. However, with some determination and some clear, simple steps you’ll soon be well on your way to changing not only your eating habits, but increasing your savings and being healthier!