Make a Budget.
It’s the B-word nobody wants to talk about. But it’s the most practical way to understand what you’re spending. First, take a look at what you’re spending money on now (rent or house payments, loan payments, groceries, etc.). Then evaluate where your money is going. Does it fit into your long term goals? Last, track your spending to make sure it is fitting into those goals.
That last one – Track Your Spending.
We can help. Sign up for Internet Banking to have easy access to your accounts and monitor where you are spending your money. Check out other great online tools like Mint.com or BudgetTracker.com to help you create a “virtual wallet” and stay on budget. The best part? These tools are free!
Avoid Impulse Buying.
We’ve all done it. We’ve fallen for that all-too-tempting sale on an impulse, only to bring it home and wonder “What did I want this for anyway?” It’s tough to fight the urge to buy, but following a few simple steps can help.
- Keep a list of things you really want or need.
- Only buy things you know you can return.
- Don’t be fooled by huge markdowns. Remember, you’re not really saving money by buying something on sale. You’re saving money if you don’t buy it at all.
Save for Emergencies and Unexpected Costs.
Make 2015 the year of building up that “rainy day” fund. The future is unknown and with it comes unknown expenses that you can’t write into a budget. Make a plan to save up now before those financial emergencies hit. Horicon Bank has a variety of savings accounts to fit your savings goals. And to help you stay on track, you can even schedule automatic transfers from your checking account right into your savings account. If you’re a debit card user, you might want to check out Migrate Savings. It’s a simple way to save without even thinking about it.
Use Your Credit Card Wisely.
Credit cards can be a great purchasing tool, but be careful. They can also lead to overspending and mountains of high interest debt. Use your credit card wisely in 2015. Don’t use your credit card to buy things you can’t afford. If you can’t afford it today, you probably can’t afford it tomorrow either. And don’t fall into the habit of making minimum-only payments. Leaving a large balance every month means you will be paying much more in interest for those purchases. Instead, use your credit card to purchase things you need – not just things you want. And review your credit card statement thoroughly each month to ensure accuracy of charges and that your payment was applied correctly.
And there you have it. By budgeting, tracking, saving and being smart with your credit, you can make 2015 your best financial year yet.