No matter how closely you follow the steps in our “Organize Your Finances for the New Year” blog post, your efforts won’t be effective if you’re not working on your spending and saving habits! Even if saving isn’t your forte, you should look at the new year as an opportunity to change your financial habits. Here are some ways we can help you become a more efficient saver!
1. Keep Your Budget
Yes, we just said keeping a budget is hard and you need all of these skills to do so, but a solid budget is the most important starting point. Budgeting gives you a clear picture of your finances. You can see where your money is going and identify opportunities to save on your current expenses as well as calculate how much money you currently have leftover to save. Mobile apps can cut out a lot of the work and help you track spending automatically, but nothing beats a classic Excel budget template. Whatever works best for you is what’s important!
2. Pay Yourself First
Part of your budget should include a line item to “pay yourself” monthly. Our Goal Setter Savings account makes it easy to set a specific amount to pay your savings account monthly. It’s so quick and painless, you won’t even miss the few extra dollars from your paycheck. Even if the amount is small, it adds up over time. Try to schedule the transfer as soon as you get your paycheck so it’s removed before you even look at your monthly bills.
In addition to automatically paying yourself first, you can utilize our Online Bill Pay option to automate your bill payments, too. This way, you know when the money will come out of your account and how much it will be each and every time. You can always pay more if you come into some extra money, but you should also consider saving that extra cash instead!
4. Make Your Money Work Harder
Interest earning accounts are one of the best ways to make your money work harder for you. Our Personal Money Market savings account has a tiered interest rate structure, so the more you save, the more interest you’re paid! There are some other high yield options to consider, too. We offer CDs that lock in a yield for a chosen term, CDARS that are great for those with larger deposits, and the ever-popular IRA! One of our bankers can talk you through what works best for your financial situation.
5. Avoid Wallet Drains
Part of your budget review should include taking a closer look at the expenses you’re already paying. Extra fees or unused memberships can really add up and drains your wallet for no reason. Rein in your useless spending to increase your cash flow. Here are a few ways to get lower payments or eliminate fees:
- If you have options for your utilities, entertainment utilities, or insurance, you can shop around for lower rates. Even if you like your current provider, if you show them that they can pay less elsewhere, they might lower your price. It’s as easy as a quick phone call to ask about your options.
- Check your bank account statements. If you’re getting hit with low balance or low transaction fees, maybe you should consider something like HomeTown Bank’s Totally Free Checking. It truly is free.
- Monitor your day to day spending. Did you really need that second latte? Can you pack your lunch more often? Not only will your wallet feel better, you might feel healthier too! You’ll hit two resolutions with one change!
6. Find Additional Means of Income
If you’re still too tight on money to save what you need, the only other option would be to find more ways to bring money in! Even if you don’t have a “side-hustle” or unique money-making talent, there are little ways you can easily make a few extra bucks. There are endless websites to sell unwanted items online. There are apps and certain rewards cards that give you a kickback when you spend through them. Even taking online surveys could give your wallet an extra cushion.
Building a solid cushion takes time, but once you’re there, you’ll feel the difference when unexpected expenses pop up. Keeping money in your savings will provide the means to travel where you like, make big purchases like cars and a home, or whatever else you’re dreaming of. Come down to your local branch to see how we can help!