Page 10 THE VILLADOM TIMES II • February 25, 2009 Business Americans have gained a well-earned reputation for being lax about saving money. People who want to build a better financial future have an opportunity to take action. Feb. 22 to March 1 is “New Jersey Saves Week.” The goal is to encourage Garden State residents to make a commitment to the old fashioned personal financial virtue: saving. The New Jersey Society of Certified Public Accountants has joined the New Jersey Coalition for Financial Education to support this effort. The members of the NJSCPA are offering five suggestions anyone can take to build a stronger financial future for themselves and their families. Pay yourself first. Most people think of saving as important, but it is something done after all the bills are paid. Unfortunately, after the bills are paid, there does not seem to be any money left for saving. “Pay yourself first” means make your savings, even if it is only a few dollars per paycheck, the first payment you make every month. Pay off credit card debt. If you are carrying a balance on a credit card and paying interest or penalties you are wasting money. Pay off your credit card debt as quickly as possible. No savings plan or safe investment will ever make equal the money wasted on credit card costs. Reducing expensive debt is just another way to save. Participate in your workplace retirement plan. If you are fortunate enough to have a 401(k) or similar retirement plan, be sure to sign up for it. If your employer matches any percentage of your contributions, be sure you contribute, at a minimum, the percentage of your paycheck that the employer will match. “Invest” in your home mortgage. Every extra dollar you add to your mortgage payment goes directly to your home equity. You reduce the amount of interest you will pay, increase your ownership stake, and shorten the time between now and when you own your home “free and NJ CPAs suggest ways to a brighter financial future clear.” Sacrifice. If you know you should be saving, but think there just is not enough money to start saving, you are not alone. But think of the future, and then consider all the small expenses that soak up your hard-earned pay. Can you “brown bag” your lunch? Drink a regular coffee instead of cappuccino? Skip the fast food? Eliminate premium cable channels? You have the money to save. The big question is this: Do you have the will? New Jersey Saves Week is your call to action -- to make a personal commitment to saving and investing in your future. For more sound advice on saving, investing and other personal financial planning topics, visit the NJSCPA’s public service website, As an additional service, from now through March 31, CPA experts are available online to answer personal income tax filing questions. The New Jersey Society of Certified Public Accountants, with more than 15,000 members, represents the interests of the accounting profession and advances the financial well-being of the people of New Jersey. The NJSCPA plays a leadership role in supporting the profession by providing members with educational resources, access to shared knowledge and a continuing effort to create and expand professional opportunities. The Atlantic Stewardship Bank announced that, as a result of 2008 earnings, it would distribute $627,250 in charitable contributions to approximately 352 recipients, through the bank’s unique tithing program. The tithing program provides for the bank to share 10 percent of its pre-tax earnings annually with Christian and local civic non-profit organizations. All tithe recipients are selected at year-end by the bank’s board of directors. In accordance with the tithing program, each year the Atlantic Stewardship Bank makes hundreds of donations, sending or hand delivering checks to food pantries, Christian missions and ministries, schools, libraries, police and fire departments, and other deserving recipients local to the bank’s branch offices. To date, the bank’s total tithe donations exceed $6.3 million. “Tithing is a Biblical principle, meaning to give or devote one-tenth to God,” said Atlantic Stewardship Bank President and Chief Executive Officer Paul Van Ostenbridge. “The concept of a bank giving away 10 percent of its profits every year is quite unusual, especially Atlantic Stewardship to donate $627,250 in the current financial and economic climate, but the Atlantic Stewardship Bank has been blessed with continued growth, and we consider it a privilege to share our profits with worthy organizations that reach out to help so many.” As the Atlantic Stewardship Bank’s customer base grows, so does the bank’s ability to help others via increased donations. A strong community bank, Atlantic Stewardship attracts hundreds of new accounts annually with its outstanding customer service, convenient locations, and diverse range of products and services. Atlantic Stewardship Bank, a subsidiary of Stewardship Financial Corporation, maintains banking locations in Midland Park, Montville, North Haledon, Pequannock, Ridgewood, Waldwick, Westwood, Wyckoff, Hawthorne, and Wayne. Established in 1985, ASB is a full-service community bank serving both individuals and businesses. The bank is a subsidiary of Stewardship Financial Corporation trading on the NASDAQ under the symbol SSFN. The bank’s website is ee fr