GRAND RAPIDS, Mich (WOOD) – Are you resolving to finally get organized in the new year? Or to start saving a little money? You can make it happen. And it doesn’t have to be hard. An important step in achieving a financially fit lifestyle is to get organized. Financial order puts you in the driver’s seat of your household. Whether you’re trying to put aside a little green or keep a closer eye on what you already have, here are a few shortcuts to organize your life and save money in 2017.
Automate your Savings
Select an amount out of every paycheck and automate it. There’s a couple of ways to help such as creating an automatic transfer between checking and savings. Make sure you’re getting the best rate in the right account before you transfer money from checking to savings. Some credit unions, like Adventure, offer a high yield on a checking account and many people use that to increase what they earn. If you aren’t that disciplined, think about automating your direct deposit, sending your budget amount to checking and a certain amount to your savings accounts. In many cases you can split your direct deposit into more than one savings, helping you save for the goals you have. It’s kind of the set-it-and-forget-it kind of thing.
Set up Automatic Bill Pay
Arrange for your bills to be paid electronically through your online Bill Pay service. In most cases, your Bill Pay service is free which means you can eliminate the cost of postage while insuring your payments are on time with no late fees.
Set Reminders to Check your Budget
People have the best of intentions at the beginning of the year. Then life intervenes. If you’re vowing to stay on track with your budget this year, you need to touch base with it on a regular basis. Set an auto reminder on your phone or tablet to check it. You can populate the calendar throughout the year with weekly or biweekly reminders. When you sit down and review your budget, you put the power in your hands.
Create a Cash Cushion
You don’t know what financial surprises 2017 will bring. But having a little extra money on hand never hurts. Make a commitment to increase the amount you set aside in your savings account by at least 5%. That amount is attainable and, chances are, you won’t miss it. Just set it aside for emergencies and those occasional or variable expenses. Don’t have any savings to increase? Pledge to put aside at least 10% of your paycheck and remember to split your direct deposit or set up automatic transfers between accounts. With a cash cushion in a savings account, you can cover those unexpected bills, rather than going into debt. If you don’t end up needing it during the year, you can tap it for a vacation or next year’s holiday spending. Make savings a habit!
Use Your Tools
There are many ways to help you track your money like mobile account apps, online banking, and automated phone systems. With tools like alerts, you can schedule an alert to see when a deposit, withdrawal, or debit card has been used. Check with your credit union and take advantage of all the tools to help you take charge of your money.