Send Your Budget Back to School

This is a great time of year to get organized and back on track. Something about the return of regular schedules after a nice summer break leaves many people feeling ready to take on the world. Still, going into the end of the calendar (and tax) year can also leave us a bit anxious about our financial situations. recently reported that nearly a third of people who earn $75,000 per year are actually living paycheck to paycheck. This means they have no emergency funds available and no savings plan in place. It also means that an unexpected misfortune such as a leaky roof, medical expense, or temporary job loss could easily put a family into big trouble.

Here are some simple ways to get your finances on track so you can build up an emergency fund, pay off debt, and build a long-term savings plan:

  • Know what you spend. Track, categorize, and calculate every penny you spend for a month. Be sure to include all credit card purchases, cash transactions, regular bills, and incidentals.
  • Create a realistic budget. Our online Financial Resource Center offers strategies and advice about how to create a budget and get spending under control. You also have access to amazing {& free} personal budgeting tools within Online Banking
  • Stick to the budget. Once you have your budget in place, it should become your guide for all expenses and spending. As with any plan, it only works if you follow it.
  • Pay yourself first. No matter your situation, the time to save money is now. Choose a savings account option that best fits your needs.
  • Decrease debt. While conventional wisdom taught us to pay off debt with the highest interest rates, current experts advise paying off your smallest debts first. This creates momentum and decreases the amount of payees to whom you owe money.
  • Increase income. Typically money goes out in many more ways than it comes in. Explore opportunities for part-time work or sell items you no longer need or use.
  • Manage temptation. Getting back on track may require a financial diet. If you are tempted to make a purchase that is not within your budget, hold back. Being strict now will bring rewards later.
  • Watch your credit score. Each of the three national bureaus (Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion) must provide a free credit report once per year per Federal law. You can easily monitor your credit score right within MVCU’s Online Banking! Clean up errors and watch for identity theft.
  • Plan EARLY for the holidays. Gift-giving season will be here before you know it. Be sure to have a plan, so you can stay on track with your budget and continue to save throughout the year.