Weigh In & List Debts
Make a list of all your debts, including the interest rates you’re paying for each and your monthly payments. Write them all down or list them in a spreadsheet.
Name Your #1 Financial Fitness Goal
Take a close look at your debts and decide what is the most important change you should try to make. Maybe your goal is to increase your savings and emergency fund. If you are paying high interest on credit cards, perhaps you should transfer your money to a Founders card with lower rates.
Do the Math & See What You Have Left
After adding up all your expenses, subtract them from your income. The difference is what you have left to put towards your #1 Financial Fitness Goal and the “fun money” you can use. Now you have a budget!
Set Up A Financial Organization System
Compile all the financial information you have gathered and get it organized. It might be useful to have a folder for each category like receipts, unpaid bills and any other categories that fit your needs.
Start Tracking Your Spending
Tracking your spending is a great way to take a closer look at what you are spending and just how much you are spending. Online tracking sites like mint.com are a great resource, or you can keep a notebook and write down all your expenditures. Either way, seeing what you are spending listed out is a real eye-opener.
Have A One-Day Spending Vacation
Today, spend absolutely nothing. This means no eating out, no ordering in, no quick trips to the store and bring your coffee from home or drink what’s available at the office. See how much you can save in only one day of no spending.
Try A Cash Only System
Use cash that you have in your wallet or in your checking account instead of using a credit card. Studies show that when using cash instead of a credit card, one is less likely to overspend.
Check Your Interest Rates
Are you getting the best rate available? If not, check with a Founders Loan Officer. Our rates for your home, auto or credit card may be better than what you are currently paying.
Brown Bag for the Next Five Days
You would be amazed at how much money you could save if you bring your own lunch to work instead of going out for lunch. Go to the grocery store today and buy enough food for lunches for the next five days. Compare your total to what you would normally spend on lunch.
Slash Your Monthly Bills
Are you using all the minutes you are paying for on your cell phone service? How about your cable or satellite bill, are you watching the movie channels you pay extra for? Sure $10 a month doesn’t sound like much now, but over time it adds up. Take a close look at all your bills and make sure you are using what you are paying for. It might be beneficial to call some of the companies you use for these services to see if they are running any specials that could reduce your monthly payments.
Cash In Unused Gift Cards
Do you have a gift card that has been collecting dust in your wallet since the holidays? This is a great time to use these and reward yourself without having to go over your budget.
Switch to Founders!
Founders Federal Credit Union is a financial cooperative and is member-owned. We are able return money to our members through lower rates and higher dividends. Plus we have the modern conveniences of big banks like Online Banking, eStatements, eLending, Direct Deposit and more.
Call 1-800-845-1614 to become a member today!
Calculate Your Retirement Needs
There are many resources online that will calculate the amount of money you should be saving for retirement based on your age and income. Founders Investment Services Financial Consultants are also available to help you plan for your retirement.
Celebrate Your Progress & Money Saved!
You have successfully gone through your finances and reviewed your money spending. Now it’s time to celebrate! Reward yourself with a day at the spa or on the golf course. Congratulations on your progress!
This article was published in the Founders FCU's CU Connect Newsletter (September 2012).