Deciding to be more responsible with your money doesn’t have to mean creating a crazy strict budget or putting half your paycheck into savings. Create small goals that are easily achievable to improve your financial habits. Then, those small financial successes will help propel you forward to eventually setting and achieving larger financial goals in the future.
With the help of our employees, we’ve created a list of easy, uncomplicated things you can do to improve your financial habits right now.
1. Simply get more in touch with your bank account.
That thing you do where you avoid checking your balance because you know you’ve overspent…stop that. The first thing you can do to get yourself on track to better finances is to quit avoiding them.
2. Set up automatic payments.
Shelby Friedman, one of UB’s Loan Assistants, suggests, “this is great as long as you can keep track of when everything comes out. A lot of providers offer discounts just for having a monthly bill set up on auto-draft. (i.e. cell phone companies, cable companies, insurance companies). I think that this is also a good idea to set up an auto-draft to a savings account. For example, I personally have an automatic transfer set up to transfer money from each paycheck to my Christmas Club savings. I never see the money, so I don’t realize that it’s missing, then come November I have a little nest egg.”
3. Open an account specifically to pay your bills out of.
“It helps to not overspend your money and to make sure you have enough money to cover your bills each pay period,” said our HR Director, Amber Pate.
4. Check your credit score.
If it’s not where you’d like it to be, come up with a plan to improve it. This one was suggested by our Mortgage Loan Originator, Al Benard. If home ownership is in your 2019 goals (or even 2020 goals), this is a definite must! You can get a free copy of your credit report annually at www.annualcreditreport.com. This site is federally authorized and operated by the 3 big credit bureaus.
5. Create some system for tracking your bills.
Whether it’s a notebook, spreadsheet, or mobile app, find something that works for you. Having a place to track fluctuating expenses (such as utility bills) and due dates can help prevent bills from slipping through the cracks.
6. Make a small adjustment to your spending habits.
Try reducing the number of times you eat out in a week, couponing, or using cash savings apps like Ibotta or eBates to earn cash back on your purchases. Even small amounts of money add up over time.
Bonus tip: Each time you make a decision that saves you a little bit of money, transfer that amount into your savings account immediately. You probably won’t even notice those small amounts are gone, and they’ll help grow your savings even faster.