Categories: Financial Planning, General Tips
Staying aligned with healthy financial habits
Seasons serve as great markers for changes and milestones. Prepping for going back to school in the fall, planning for a summer trip or making a New Year’s resolution are all ways to mark the change in seasons that gives you something to look forward to, and a chance to start fresh. As you look toward the next season, think about some healthy financial habits that you could work into your life to help set you up for success in the future.
Save, Spend, Invest & Donate
With a new job comes new financial questions including how to use your money. A great way to portion your income is to split it up into useful buckets—a percentage to keep safe in a savings account, another amount for spending money, a plan for investing and growing wealth and a percentage to help others less fortunate. This portioning can help you find balance and maintain control of your own finances.
Track financial spending
Over the course of a month, look at your spending habits and decide how much of your spending went toward things you needed versus things you wanted. That may include paying cell phone bills or car insurance versus doing fun things with friends or buying new clothes and shoes. Ask yourself what the percentage of need vs. want spending you are comfortable with, and adjust if necessary. Often after a season or a big event, we find ourselves wishing something had gone differently (ever wish you could have stayed a few days longer on a trip or splurged a bit more at the holidays?). That’s the perfect time to plan for the next trip, gift-giving occasion, or another event by setting your goals and making a financial plan to get there.
Ask about household expenses
As you head toward adult life, it’s important to understand what it takes to live independently. If you are not already familiar, ask an adult or research what things like grocery bills, cable and streaming costs, garbage removal, water, heat and air conditioning, gas, insurance and activities add up to on a regular basis for your family. This can help to plan for the type of lifestyle you would like as you look toward college, career, and life as an adult.
Use a budgeting app
There are a lot of free resources that help to track income, expenses, spending and savings. Having this on your phone or computer can come in handy to manage your own money and avoid overspending.
Create a “rainy day” fund
Start putting away a small portion of your paycheck or allowance into a “rainy day” fund that doesn’t get touched for day-to-day living. As this fund grows, you’ll be ready if there is an unexpected expense or emergency, and if not, you’ll have a nice bonus to use for something special or important down the road.
Check for deals and discounts
To make your money go further, take a pause to check for deals, discounts, coupons and offer codes. Many restaurants, websites and stores have discounts and sales at certain times, or for certain categories of people like students, that lower prices and improve overall value. This is an important habit when considering a non-essential purchase.
Balance and review your checking account
Knowing how much money you have available is an important part of building a strong financial foundation. Review what comes into your checking account from your paycheck, and what is going out of the account for spending and expenses. Make sure each of those line items matches what you expect or actually paid for. If you don’t have a checking account yet, check out your options with The Summit Federal Credit Union, or make an appointment with a Relationship Specialist at our Virtual Branch to get started online.