Ready to save money in 2018 and reach your financial goals? We can help.
Start a new hobby … lose weight … get healthy. If any of these ambitions are part of your New Year’s resolutions, you’re not alone. They’re typically listed among the top 10 resolutions that people make every year. Another one that makes a regular appearance? Save money.
But just as losing weight or starting a new hobby won’t happen overnight, neither will saving money. It takes patience, time and practice. But you’ll be happy to know our team at Family Horizons Credit Union can help.
Take a look at some of our top tips for setting and achieving New Year’s financial goals. And as always, if you have any questions, please call us at our Indianapolis or Greenfield branches (see contact information below). We hope you have a wonderful and financially successful 2018!
Evaluate your current financial situation. Get a clear picture of your household income, savings, debt and other assets. Before you start saving, you need to know how much your spending, where you want to improve, and what you have to work with.
Track your spending. Whether it’s by cash, credit or debit cards, or auto-pay bills, you probably pay for things in a number of different ways. This can also make it difficult to know what your spending. Divide your spending into categories, beginning with the basics, like utilities, food, housing, insurance and transportation. Then add incidentals, like entertainment and shopping. Find an app, digital tools or budget templates to help you get started – plenty options are free. Then keep track of all your spending for a few months.
Create a budget. Once you know where your money is actually going, you can identify where you need to cut back or adjust. Create a budget that you can stick to, and make sure to include savings as part of it. Check out Famile-Funds our FREE personal finance program. Log on to Home Banking and then click on Famile-Funds tab to get started!
Set specific savings goals. As you identify what you want to save for and how you want to save, go back and tweak your budget accordingly. Here are ways to save and things to save for:
• Use the tried-and-true envelope method, where you literally deposit cash each month into marked envelopes. For example, you could have one for rent, food, spending, saving and donating. This is particularly effective if you want to keep within budgets for things like entertainment or eating out.
• Pay yourself first. Figure out how much you can set aside every pay period for savings, and put the money in the bank before you pay your other bills.
• Save automatically through a monthly transfer from checking to savings, ideally right after you get paid. What you don’t see, you probably won’t miss.
• Although it may be hard to even think about it, setting a savings goal for retirement could allow you to maintain your standard of living when you stop working.
• Start a rainy-day fund. Unforeseen expenses are a fact of life, and can include anything from small car repairs to major medical bills. Start saving a small amount every period just for such circumstances – it’ll add up and you’ll be happy to have it.
• Keep the change. Designate a shoe box or large jar for all your loose change and watch it fill up. You’ll be surprised how much money you can save, and it can go toward a special vacation or unexpected night out on the town.
• Explore different types of savings accounts and figure out which ones are right for you. Whether it’s a basic or government-insured savings account, we can help you get one set up. Schedule an appointment with us and we’ll walk you through it.
Eliminate late payments. Late payments and fees add up quickly, and can get out of control fast. Make it a goal to catch up as soon as possible, even if it means taking an extra job. And make it a priority to pay all your bills on time.
Pay off a credit card. It can be daunting to think about paying off all of your debt, so start by focusing on one that you can hopefully pay off quickly. If you have a store credit card with a low balance, or you owe monthly payments to a hospital, you may be able to clear those up fairly easily. You can then take that money and apply it toward building an emergency fund or to other debt.
Reduce bills. Pick two or three bills and try to reduce the amount you pay each month. For instance, find ways to conserve energy to reduce your electric or gas bill. Or review your cable or phone bill and see if there are features you can trim, or ask if there are any specials that you can take advantage of to lower the monthly fees.
Meet with a financial planner. Sound decisions start with sound advice, which is why we make available the services of a qualified financial advisor to our members. If you have questions about financial planning, retirement planning, or need assistance with things like your 401k plan or pension plan rollover, call Gregg Perrey at (317) 610-3945 for a no-cost consultation.
We love to talk about financial goals and savings plans. Stop by one of our Family Horizons Credit Union branches, or call to make an appointment. We can’t wait to hear from you.
Indianapolis East side Branch:
6665 E. 21st Street
Indianapolis, IN 46219
216 W. Muskegon Drive
Greenfield, IN 46140