2 winning strategies to save more this year

Sun Sentinel

You may not think you can save with rising gas and food prices throughout South Florida.

But here are two strategies to help you stash away some cash:

Save your tax refund. Sandra Tobon, financial coach for the Hollywood-based Hispanic Unity of Florida, said many families get large federal tax refunds that can equal a month or two of paychecks.  Low- and moderate-income parents, for example, can qualify for the Earned Income Tax Credit that gives as much as $5,751 for parents of three or more children. Tobin recommends saving all or most of it.

"Now is not the time to be buying a big-screen TV with the money," Tobon said.

Pay yourself first. Other South Floridians say their successful saving strategy is to have money taken out automatically out of their paychecks and put into savings or retirement accounts. "I never see it," said Lisa Green of Palm Beach County. "I think it is a matter of discipline."

She also tries to increase her savings rate every year. Like most Floridians, Green doesn't have a pension -- and that makes her save even more. "We are carrying the load ourselves," she said.

dgehrke@tribune.com, 954-356-4404 or Twitter @donnagehrke

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