Where to find higher yields

International bond funds

You won't earn much in U.S. bonds nowadays, but if you look abroad to other countries, you could make up to 5% on your savings without taking on a lot of risk.

Foreign governments use bonds to borrow money and finance public spending much like Washington, does. And bonds in many stable, trustworthy countries are paying a lot more than the 1% you'll earn here.

Mari Adam, president of Adam Financial Associates in Boca Raton, Fla., says there are many solid, well-run international bond funds earning 3% to 5%.

"Don't assume that all international bonds are riskier than their U.S. counterparts," she says. "Many foreign countries, including some emerging-market nations, have less debt and stronger balance sheets than the U.S."

The Templeton Global Total Return fund (TGTRX) boasts a yield of 4.52% and an expense ratio of 1%. Another popular fund is the PIMCO Global Bond Fund (PGBIX), which has a current yield of 2.06% and an expense ratio of .55%.