Throughout the year, DeCA’s new Savings Redefined: Embrace My myprepaidbalance.com campaign celebrates how our military and civilian families are using their commissary benefits. The campaign aims to encourage families to adopt better financial practices and improve their financial future.
To that end, DeCA recently re-defined savings by relying on local patron purchases at commercial grocers rather than Nielsen pricing data to benchmark local shopper savings.
1. It’s a flexible way to save.
We often say we can’t go without this or that, but the truth is, it may be more affordable to pay with cash than buy with a credit card. A quick cash fix may get you through today but will make next month a struggle — so don’t use it to live beyond your means, unless you can afford to pay back the full balance when the bill comes in.
Creating financial discipline starts with changing the language around it. The recent furor between Suze Orman and FI/RE (financial independence/retire early) advocates points to a gap in the language we use to talk about money and savings. Changing this language is no easy task, but it can be done.
One example of this work is the rebranding of GXS’ “necessity fund” to “lifestyle planning.” This shift in language helps change the perception of savings, making it more relatable to people’s daily lives. Moreover, this new language enables more nudges that help customers build the habit of saving.
Another example of this is the re-imagining of how we benchmark local savings using our data platform. Instead of relying on Nielsen prices, our new savings benchmarks take into consideration patron purchases at their local commercial grocers, which are manually gathered in each region. This provides a more accurate picture of the true cost of local food items, which will allow patrons to save more effectively for what they really need and want.
2. It’s a smart way to save.
We need to stop referring to the money people save for emergencies as an emergency fund. That’s a pejorative term that has the potential to turn people off from putting together a financial cushion for life’s unexpected twists and turns. Instead, we need to call it a “necessity fund.” That’s a more positive description that helps put the effort into saving for unforeseen needs.
Susan’s quest for a smart way to save led her to Bankly Microfinance Bank, which offers the Group Savings feature on its app. This feature modernizes the traditional ajo by combining community spirit, accountability, and convenience with accessibility and a user-friendly interface. The result is a powerful savings tool that’s both effective and inspiring for people like Susan who are trying to build their way out of a bind.
Procurement has a lot to think about: saving the bottom line, saving profitability and savings for future demand. But in today’s complex economic conditions, procurement must be able to do more than just cut costs. It must also be able to forecast savings and make sure the market is ready for tomorrow.
3. It’s a smart way to spend.
Saving may seem like a chore, but the truth is, it’s an essential part of a solid financial plan. Having a healthy savings cushion not only protects against unexpected expenses, but also provides options for the future, such as changing careers or pursuing a dream vacation.
The key is to make it a regular habit. One way to do this is by establishing a budget and automating your payments, so that bills are paid on time, and savings automatically deposited with each paycheck. Another is to set up automated transfers so that “found money” like bonuses or tax refunds go directly into savings, rather than to spending.
Finally, setting a savings goal is important to help keep you accountable. Whether it’s for a new outfit, a vacation or even a down payment on a house, having something tangible to work towards can give you the motivation to stay on track.
For years, DeCA measured shopper savings by comparing a 26-week average of 38,000 branded items at cost to Nielsen price data—with limited manual comparisons for Alaska and overseas locations. Now, to better reflect the needs of a shifting America, DeCA is using a more holistic approach that takes into account local patron purchases at their own commercial grocers, as well as the prices they see at the commissary.
This allows the bank to be nimble and responsive, providing a more accurate picture of the true cost of living for military families around the world. It’s an exciting step forward, and GXS is proud to be able to support this transformation with the flexibility, accessibility and user-friendly tools that military service members need. This includes our new Group Savings feature on the Bankly app—a modernization of the traditional Ajo, that’s bringing a sense of community and accountability to savers in a digital format.
4. It’s a smart way to earn.
Saving is a smart way to earn. It helps you prepare for unexpected expenses like funeral costs, medical bills and house repairs or to finance big-ticket life events such as buying a car, tying the knot or starting a family. It also limits the need for emergency loans, which usually come with hefty interest rates.
Many people, however, find it hard to make savings a part of their daily routine. While it requires discipline, with a proper plan and commitment to achieving your goal, saving can be a simple but effective way to manage your money and your future.
Despite this, most Americans admit that they are worried about the future and do not save enough of their paychecks. The good news is that there are apps and services available that can help people change their financial habits for the better. One such app is the Bankly microfinance bank’s Group Savings feature that modernizes the traditional “ajo” or community “salary sharing”. With its accessibility, user-friendly interface and emphasis on transparency, this service has proven to be a powerful tool in rallying communities to save together and reach their goals. The best thing is, it can be done right in the palm of your hand.